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Mutual Encouragement in Christ XI

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Question #1:  

Hi Bob,

It's good to hear from you. I would love to check out the forum; that is actually very exciting to me, and hopefully to others.

I hope you are doing well. I continue to pray for you and your ministry, and I continue to study and grow through your teaching. I am running into something from time to time that I have been meaning to ask you about. When I get involved in a spiritual conversation with someone I just met, some people can tell - consciously or subconsciously - that what I am saying is true and led by The Spirit (obviously I am not claiming to never err or to be right all the time). This almost inevitably leads to a question that I stumble over. "Where do you go to church?" I usually tell them that I attend an online ministry, at which point I get funny looks or "but you need to go to real church" type statements. All of a sudden, for some, the truth that I just shared becomes more "interesting" and less "spiritual" to that person. It's as if my lack of attendance at any brick and mortar church is hurting my witness. What do you think is the best way to answer such a question? I have had at least one customer of mine who immediately went to your website and then called me later that evening with questions about where to start and who you are. But most, sadly, become very skeptical of anything I say just because I mentioned the internet. I understand their concerns, and I wonder if there is a better way to approach that topic.

In Christ,

Response #1: 

Great to hear from you, my friend! I just sent our friend a request; let me know please if there is any difficulty getting signed up.

This issue you write about was certainly one that I too struggled with for a long time. But conviction has grown with time and truth and spiritual progress. Ichthys is my church. People used to give me the same sort of "hard time" when I was listening to Col. Thieme's tapes. Those who did not attend the church itself but listened to the Bible classes remotely were called "tapers" and while the folks connected to this ministry had no problem with it, others outside of course felt as if it was "not really church". Of course my reply is "Hallelujah! It's not 'church' "; because 'church' is usually a waste of time.

"Say, what do they DO at that 'church' of yours? Do they teach the Bible? Really? I'll bet you really have music-and-sermon-services, then go to a "Bible study" once a week where everyone gets to sound off on their own opinions of whatever it is you are studying. How do you expect to learn anything like that?"

If I taught Greek that way, no one would ever learn Greek. I could show music videos then give a ten minute pep-talk about how learning Greek is "great!", then have the students meet once a week and philosophize about what they think Greek words might mean. 100 years later, they still wouldn't be able to read Greek. So our approach is not conventional? Praise the Lord!

I do "get" that this is not what people want to hear. But you have to understand that the true reason you're getting the flak is that they understand from listening to you that you have been learning the truth and that they are deficient by comparison. So, really, they are looking for reasons "why" you are wrong anyway and so they don't have change their lukewarm approach. Your one contact who did express interest is the one we are interested in, namely, someone who truly does love the Lord Jesus Christ enough to do what He tells us to do in following the right road, steep and narrow though it may be. That is the opposite of lukewarm. But the lukewarm always assume that they are right and that we are wrong – because it is a whole lot more comfortable that way.

"You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."
Revelation 3:17 NIV

You are fighting the good fight, my friend! Keep it up.

By the way, how is your health? Last time I heard from you, you were having issues with your heart, I believe?

I pray for you daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Hello Bob!

It’s been so long since I’ve written. I hope you are doing well. I check in every Saturday to read your latest offerings. It brings me such encouragement. I need encouragement now and also prayer.

The last time I wrote to you, it was just after my father passed away. I’ll never know why I would think that things would calm down and be better because that didn’t happen. In fact, things went from zero to eighty in about 6 weeks! Needless to say, I still get up each morning thankful for another day and whatever it may bring. It’s been very hard and the trial that I’m going through, I think, is the worst that I’ve been through so far. In the last two and a half years we have had an infestation of rats in our neighborhood, a crooked contractor (who we thought was a friend) all but gut our house and then leave it, I quit my job and got another one, the constant every day battles, family issues, and that’s just the stuff off the top of my head! It is comforting to talk to other Christians who are going through trials and testing. We are fully aware of the battle that is out there, although most that I know still believe they are not being prepared for the Tribulation because they will be magically swept away before it all hits the fan.

I would like to ask to be put on your email list for prayer concerning the present situation I am in. The house next door to us is a rental. A couple of months before my father passed away, the old neighbors (who were wonderful) were asked to move because the husband of the woman who owns it decided it needed to be updated. Against his wife’s wishes (she actually owns the house), he had a friend of his do the work and wanted him to live there while he did it. So, he moved in with his girlfriend in March of 2017 and started to fix the house up. They kept to themselves and were not friendly, which was fine by us (my mom and I). I always get a bad vibe from him when he is outside. I can’t explain it other than it just feels like there is evil at that house. Not long after they moved in, the parties started. The guy is a drunk and is the foulest mouthed person I have ever heard. Of course, he’s very loud, too. I do not deal with drunks and in listening to some of the things he had told his visitors, I was not enthusiastic to talk anything over with him. Eventually, I ended up calling the police. The rest of the year was quiet. Next spring, the parties started again. I ended up calling the police again, which infuriated the renter, so he climbed our fence and threw prophylactics in our yard. We put up a dusk to dawn light and a motion light, at the suggestion of the police, to deter him from climbing our fence. It enraged him that we put a light up and he harassed us for four hours. He claimed WE were harassing him by putting up a light. No help from the police on the harassment. I finally was able to talk to the landlord and she was very upset with the renters and said she was kicking them out. She said that she was getting a divorce and that he (the renter) was probably put in there to ‘stick it to her’ (by her soon to be ex). I also found out that the renter is a sociopath, so that would probably explain some of the evilness I feel from over there. I talked to her a few weeks later and she told me she couldn’t evict him because her lawyer said things weren’t written in the lease, etc. but she gave them a written warning. Since then, things are somewhat quiet but he does what he can to harass us and does it all while operating just to the point of getting into trouble. He’s a real piece of work. Fast forward to this year and the girlfriend has had enough and she leaves. He has a meltdown and it’s been chaos ever since. Again, he knows the law and rules and he does what he can to the furthest point he can without getting into trouble. Other neighbors don’t want anything to do with him because he’s a loose nut and they don’t want to get retaliated against. His anger seems to be pointed at us, though. I know God is allowing this for His purpose and glory. I feel such an evilness from over there. This has been a real test to me of patience and really leaning on God for protection and sanity. My flak jacket is taking a beating! I am so weary of this constant shelling and I certainly don’t want to buckle under the pressure of it.

I hope that things are going well for you and your family. I pray for you and your ministry and more so around Mother’s Day and Christmas. Even though I know my father is in a better place, I miss him dearly. Some days are better than others. I know you must feel the same about your mother.

Thank you for all that you do in helping to feed His sheep!

Response #2: 

I'm happy to hear from you, my friend, but I'm also concerned for you, reading all this. I promise to keep these concerns on my personal prayer list (I have been praying for you daily), and have updated the site prayer request list on your behalf (let me know if you'd like the wording changed).

Please be careful. God is our fortress, but we are also charged with acting prudently. I have confidence that He will protect you and bring you through. I will certainly be praying for that.

I'm also concerned about your house situation. I have dealt with enough handymen and contractors in my life to know that even if they are not "crooked", they always seem to show a great desire for getting right to the demolition phase of any project, but then always seem to take forever to get around to actually putting things back together. I've also heard of scams where unscrupulous people wreck a house in order to end up getting it from those they were supposed to be helping – I pray such is not the case here and that your place is habitable if not fixed the way it should be.

You wrote this VERY early in the morning, my friend, so I know you are working hard. I pray for the Lord to give you the strength and the encouragement to be able to last through this trial. He always brings us through the sea dry shod in the end. Our job is to trust Him and persevere in the meantime. Our MAIN job is ever to "wait on the Lord" (Ps.27:14; 39:9; 39:34; Is.40:31), trusting that He will bring us through.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Psalm 34:7

Thanks so much for all your kind and encouraging words!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your prayers and adding us to your lists. All of this has been very draining. God’s grace is sufficient and I’m making it through this trial but some days are just so draining and so very hard.

Thankfully, the rat situation is somewhat under control. We have a couple of feral cats from our humane society to “police” the grounds. The exterminator who first came up thought the rats were coming from a camper at the rental house. I see a path from our place to theirs, so I’m pretty sure that is where they are coming from. We had one in our house which was disgusting. We talked to the landlord about the camper and she wanted it off the property but it is still over there. The neighbor’s idea of fixing the problem was to shoot the feral cats. Luckily, he missed but just added to my anxiety.

Our church has a men’s group called Helping Hands and they were very gracious to come and finish the job the contractor didn’t. All we had to pay for was materials, which was such a huge blessing. We still have some things to fix which they were unable to do and we do have a better and more reliable contractor now. We have a huge housing boom in our area, so it’s not getting done as fast as I would like, but it is getting done here and there. We are comfortable and the house is in a safe condition again. Praise God! I have never worked with a contractor before and my mom now defers the decisions to me. I have no idea what I’m doing so I have been praying for a lot of wisdom.

I have never met anyone like this guy next door. He does scare me and my mother both. He knows it’s just the two of us, so I don’t know if that is why he is targeting us other than the fact we have called the police on him for his loud partying. The police have been very helpful and are also concerned but their hands are tied as far as the law goes because he hasn’t broken any laws other than the noise. I called the police to see what they could do about me seeing him shooting at the feral cats and they wanted to come up but all they could do is talk to him because they didn’t see him do it. I told them that we didn’t want to be harassed again, so they left it up to me to decide whether or not they should come up. I chickened out and told them not to come. They added it to an incident report and there is a record of it in case we ever need it. The police always tell me to call at any time I feel threatened but I feel the only thing it will do is incite harassment on his part if they can’t do anything but talk to him. I have also been taking video and pictures of things that have been going on at their suggestion. The landlord has been looking for ways to get him out but she says that it has to be an airtight reason or he could end up staying there indefinitely. Our state has some pretty strict laws for tenants and landlords to follow, so that makes it hard. The night his girlfriend left, he had an epic meltdown and trashed the back yard which is right outside my bedroom window. Throwing chairs, BBQ’s, wood, buckets, and whatever else he could get his hands on. Of course, he was drunk. He went into the house and started lighting stuff on fire and throwing it out in the back yard. About the time I was going to call the fire department and police, he stopped and put the fire out and went into the house, so I didn’t call. He trashed his own stuff, so the landlord couldn’t kick him out on that although she was very upset that he might burn down her house at any given time. They have been in trouble many times from the landlord on different issues and his girlfriend (I call her the babysitter) would be the buffer to keep him in line, at least when she was home. Now that she is gone, it’s turning into a party pad. The landlord has turned the house over to a property management firm in hopes to have more leverage with getting him out of there. We’ll see. I pray that God removes him soon. This has really taken a toll on me. I know I have grown a lot through this process—more of a backbone I guess. Friends say that we have the patience of Job with all that has been going on with the contractor situation and now next door. I don’t know if that is true or not. It sure has brought out some ugly stuff in me—like hate. I hate that guy next door. I don’t know him personally, never talked to him. I hate what he does and the torture I’m enduring. I hate that he is over there. I hate that I am having a hard time handling it. I can’t stand to look at him. Mom and I don’t even go out on that side of the house because we’re afraid that he will verbally attack us. When I’m in my bedroom, it seems like I can tell when he comes out into the back yard. I just feel an evilness from over there. He’ll look at our house while he’s out there smoking and drinking and he does this rocking from side to side like he’s possessed. I don’t know if he is or not. I’m not too familiar with demon possession or spiritual warfare. I have been reading your Satanic Series and the Peter series again to refresh on the matters. I don’t know if this is a trial (which I think it is) or I’m being disciplined for something. Either way, I’m hoping for deliverance soon.

Thank you for listening to me ramble on and thanks again for the prayers. They are much appreciated!

Response #3: 

Yikes! You have quite a predicament. I praise the Lord that He has kept you and your mom safe so far, and I pray that He will continue to do so (confident that such is the case).

We all have trials from time to time, and some times they really test our patience. This seems to be one of those. It's important at such times to focus ever more clearly on the Lord and not let down on daily spiritual growth efforts (redoubling them is the best approach).

As to love and hate, loving those who really and truly mean us no good as in this case is always going to be a very heavy lift. I would suggest starting with taking pains not to "hate". You don't have to like anything about this guy, and his behavior is despicable – no one is asking you not to call it what it is. However, we have very clear marching orders from the Lord on this sort of thing. If we let ourselves get angry (sometimes it seems unavoidable), we need to try and make sure we never "let the sun go down" on that anger (Eph.4:26; see the link); the reason has not so much with the other person / persons who are aggravating us but with ourselves. The more het up we are with any situation, the less peace we will be able to have. But if we trust the Lord to get us through, then it's easier to put the situation in His hands and, if not forget about, at least do less obsessing about it. This is the sort of "love" our Lord has in mind when it comes to those who are abusing us: not liking them or their abuse, but being willing to let the Lord handle it, refraining from engaging with it except where necessary, and even then with as little negative emotion as possible. The Lord died for everyone, but not everyone is going to be saved. Still, God wants all to be saved (1Tim.2:4), because Christ died for all, and that has to be our base-line attitude as well.

I want to make sure here that I'm not giving the wrong impression. First, you are doing and have done NOTHING wrong – that guy is the one in the wrong, totally. Second, "love" does not mean being stupid; it doesn't mean pretending that someone evil and dangerous is not evil and dangerous. Third, "love" also doesn't mean failing to take proper steps to keep oneself and one's loved ones safe. I leave that part to your judgment, but please don't leave any stone unturned here because of the principle of love. If the police need to be called, it's not "unloving" to call them. You don't mean this guy any harm (that is what Christian love is); you would prefer he turn to Christ and be saved (that is what Christian love is); but you are responsible to protect yourself and those dependent upon you – and that is love too. You're not angry about it (or at least you try not to be – the evil one knows good and well how to "get our goat", at least temporarily), but you do what you have to do to stay safe. That is all part of putting things in the Lord's hands. We make use of the resources He gives us, understanding that protection is from Him and that deliverance will come from Him when He wills it so – but it WILL come.

Having been in somewhat similar situations myself, I certainly feel your pain. But I look back and see how the Lord worked things out for good for me every time, and also see how He was showing me that He is the One in control. Aggravating and dangerous situations such as this just make it seem to fleshly eyes as if we are powerless and aren't being helped. But we know in our hearts that is not true, because we walk by faith, not by sight.

I will definitely keep you and your mom in my prayers on all this. Please do continue to keep me in the loop.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hello Bob,

I am so sorry that I haven't gotten back to you sooner to let you know what has been going on with our situation. Mom and I really appreciate your prayers and your concern and we thank you for continuing to keep us in prayer with this situation. The good news is that our prayers are working and he has been very quiet the last couple of months. The bad news is that he is still over there. I don't remember if I told you in a previous email that the landlord was tired of messing with him and turned her house over to a property management company.

After his girlfriend moved out and he had a meltdown, he decided to play his music as loud as he could, which in turn prompted me to contact the management company (at the request of the landlord). I told them about the music, the meltdown and how he was burning stuff in the back yard, etc. and they wrote him up. He has been quiet in that sense with the parties and music. Throughout the summer he had friends over to drink beer and smoke pot which made it uncomfortable for my mom and I to sit outside and enjoy our patio, which I'm sure was part of his purpose. Most every night he would be outside drunk and drunk calling people which was more of an irritant than anything else. The last two months or so, he has been gone most days and weekends, so it has been quiet which we are thankful for. He still makes me nervous because I think he is a loose cannon. When he drinks and gets drunk, which had been a daily occurrence, you never know what you'll get. Loud music, screaming, throwing things and he has a fascination with fire. As I mentioned before, he is a sociopath and is smart when it comes to laws and how to operate it to a point where he can get away with stuff. We've talked to police and the fire department and I have the number of the fire marshal if we need it. We follow the advice of those agencies, as well as the property management company, and take pictures and video when we need to and call the appropriate authorities when we need to. We try to pick our battles wisely. God has given me so much grace in all of this in getting me through it. It's been hard and a very good learning experience and I hope that I have had a good Christian witness throughout this. People that I've discussed this with cannot believe we have put up with so much, and it has been overwhelming, but it gives me a chance to brag on God and His goodness. I'm still praying that he will move out soon, though.

The house remodel is ongoing. Our inside is livable and done for the most part, which I am very grateful for the godly men that He brought to us to help us out. A second contractor we hired this spring did a few things but, like the other one, did only the things he wanted to do and left the rest. We didn't pay him for some of it and I guess he doesn't care because he never came back for the money. Our little town is growing so fast and these contractors can make 3 to 4 times the amount on new homes right now that they don't care if they walk away from small projects. It amazes me as a business owner how someone could do that. I provide a service and I wouldn't be in business long if I did to my patients what they have done to me and others. It's been another learning experience for me, so I am grateful for that. None of this has been easy but I know it is necessary. It hurts and has been downright scary at times but I know He is with me because He has promised to never leave me or forsake me.

I'm happy to hear that you are able to teach for another year and that things are going well for you. I hope things still are. Is your helper another teacher or someone that helps you in class? Do you go through a "cancellation fest" every school year?

I would like to be part of that online forum! I'm still trying to get as much study in as I can and I confess that I'm not doing as good of a job as I should be. I'm hoping that having some interaction with serious Christians will help me stay on track. I'm finding fewer and fewer people who are really committed anymore. Sadly, we know why.

Thank you again for the continued prayers and I hope this makes sense. I wanted to touch base before anymore time got by me.

Your friend in Christ,

Response #4: 

Great to hear from you, my friend! I have been a bit concerned – but God is good! He brings us through every raging sea, dry-shod.

Before I forget, I've contacted our friend and asked him to send you an invite. He's in the middle of finals for his last semester, so there may be a bit of a lag time, but if you don't hear anything after a while, please do send me a note about that.

I think this is the home-contractors creed! In my experience and observation, they LOVE to come in and do demolition, stack up building materials, make a general mess . . . then disappear. The "good" ones are the ones that come back at all. And if one ever makes the mistake of paying them anything up front, well, that's a temptation few can resist. Not the way I would do business either, my friend – which is one reason I'm not in that field.

I'll continue to keep that "neighbor" situation in my prayers. I do want to say that I am profoundly encouraged by the good fight you are fighting, trusting in the Lord and giving a good witness for Him in spite of the pressure. You are passing a really tough test – good for you! We could all do more when it comes to spending time with Him in the Word and its study, but you are definitely hanging in there – it's obvious. So keep on with your wonderful attitude and strong and growing faith in Jesus Christ. That is the way to please Him and to earn a good reward.

I promise to keep doing battle with you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:  

Dear Professor

I am wanting to share this email with our friends as they also share their experiences with me in our struggles. Tell me if you are ok about this. Saves me writing twice.

I thank you for your continuing thoughts and prayers and your wonderful Ministry. You are my friend, the best kind one can have, concerned with my and my family’s salvation. To keep things in the proper perspective for me I choose to address you as Professor as this is the proper relationship of a student in my situation and a teacher of your knowledge and understanding. I look forward to the joyous day when you receive your reward. Hence I pray for your strength and perseverance in your life and Ministry.

Looking through a dark glass this is joyful to have our hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. How much more joy in the reality on that glorious day when He returns to reward those who love Him!
Without your Ministry there would be nothing for me to “do” so that any little thing I do “do” is because of the truth you teach in your Ministry. It reminds me of us having no right to boast as Christ has given us all we have, including life and light, which He Himself is. For me, it is a matter of giving credit to where credit is due, and praise to where praise is due, in expectation of the eternal praise we will all have for our Redeemer forevermore.

Last night my son here, had a chat with my son who is in China and then I had a longish chat with him too. [details omitted]

I have tried to take a leaf out of your book, Professor (another one), where you present the truth and let the Spirit do the rest]. I realise you do this in regards to the gospel of Jesus Christ and it seems to be of great benefit in everyday life as well - which we are supposed to be living for Him in any and every case anyway.

As you can see, in my case, and no doubt in many other cases, your Ministry and teaching have quite a profound effect for the truth in our lives. For which it seems, just a humble thanks is your reward here and now.

Thank you for your prayers. I pray for you being blessed in all you do. With grateful thanks.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student and friend

Response #5: 

Thanks for this update, my friend. I'm happy to have you share whatever I write to you. As always, your good words are greatly appreciated. I'll try to be worthy of them.

I'm also very happy that you are back in correspondence with your son, and I'm certainly praying for his response to the truth. As you very well know, his familiar responses are just the boiler-plate defenses which people who been have disappointed by other Christians and so-called Christian organizations put up against God and the truth when they don't want to deal with either. I'm hoping, however, that the Lord is in the process of working something significant in him. After all, He did put you back in touch – no doubt for a reason.

You have a lot on your plate, my friend!

Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
Acts 14:22 NIV

In Jesus our faithful Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find the following audio file:

God speaks to us through Scripture

Things are going well here, staying busy, dealing with life, the usual. My mother who is 79 years old was just diagnosed with MDS (pre-leukemia) and Multiple Myeloma, I also have a friend who is entering the final stages of colon cancer. I’ve tried to encourage them both to get close to the Lord through real Bible study and prayer but they display resistance, both seem more comfortable in a lukewarm environment. Most of what they say sounds like “were all going to make to Heaven with fingers crossed”, conviction and assurance are lacking. I don’t pretend to know what is really in another persons heart, even my own trips me up at times, but I do see how much they love this world, and I hear the words they speak, and I wonder?. We all have to make our own choices here and it is sad to see a person at the end of their natural life who never really got it (especially those who claim to be Christian). I don’t get very upset with the passing of family, friends, pets, etc., we’re all going to end up exactly where we want to be, even though the final destination may be/seem regrettable for most. God has already provided everything for us through His Son Jesus and His Word.

How are things with you Sir? Thanks for the Sunday postings and all that you do. Keeping you in prayer daily, and thank you for your prayers as well.

All the best,


Response #6: 

Sorry to hear about your mom and your friend. My dad had MM, but it never seemed to bother him (he had other issues; he died of heart failure but actually played golf at 86 the day before he went peacefully in his sleep); on the other hand, I have a reader of the site with MM who found that out when she broke her arm when brushing her teeth. She's getting therapy now and seems to be in pretty good functional shape. Don't know about MDS, but I have an elderly gentleman, an ex-Marine, in my upper level Greek class who missed a semester for leukemia but is back in class looking no worse for wear; he does still get chemo for it.

It is amazing about people facing what Tillich called "the ultimate concern" and not realizing that, yes, it really CAN happen to them. I think I'm most amazed about the ability non-believers have to funtionally reject the possibility that they will actually die. Oh yes they say they "know", but everything else they say and do is as if they didn't really believe that. Hardness of heart is amazing – or I should say "appalling". When it comes to people we know and love and care about, people who are believers 'we hope', it really is frustrating sometimes. We see what they are doing. Living like unbelievers – or pretty close to that. Where are they at? Only God knows – truly. But when it comes to believers like yourself who really do "get it" and who really are trying to follow Jesus Christ the right way, becoming alienated on a basic level from everyone else who is NOT doing that is a given. It's so clear to us. How can it be so cloudy to others?

Clogged hearts if not hardened ones are also capable of ignoring what to you and I and a handful of others are such basic things, things in comparison to which nothing whatsoever is more important. So we pray for them – and put in a good word when there is a reasonable opportunity to do so. But ultimately everyone makes their own choices, so we try not to let the bad and questionable decisions of other keep us from the reward the Lord promises to those who are growing and progressing and ministering to His Church. Just as you are doing, my friend.

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
Romans 2:5-11 NKJV

Thanks again for the file – tested and AOK!

Things here are going pretty well. Most of the excitement at work has died down and now it's just grinding out the semester. Committee workload is much larger than advertised for me this semester, but I'll get through it.

Keeping you and your in my prayers daily, my friend – and thanks so much for yours!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Good morning Professor,

How are you? And your family and work? I believe Our Lord has been faithfully caring for you.
I just finished Sorteriology and I’m on to Pneumatology. As I was reading this morning, I thought to email. I usually can’t clearly express what I want to say and I want to say that I don’t know where I would have been if the Lord hadn’t sent __ to me and then Ichthys through him. It was his quest that led us here through Our Lord.

I look at the all the things you do and I’m beyond amazed. I pray for you everyday and I literally look forward to meeting you someday. If not here, then there.

Medical school is hard and time consuming in our country, you can’t begin to imagine. I’ll leave that story for another day. I try to read Ichthys (whatever study I’m on) for 30mins in the morning and then 30 in the evening plus one chapter each from both testaments and then a Psalm and then spend some time in prayer as often as I can. I also find hymns very enjoyable and they sort of express the things I can’t say.

I don’t know what my gift is yet, I feel like I’m being too slow in my studies. I know growth is a daily process and I trust the Lord is working in me. I was greatly encouraged by the first pages of Pneumatology where you said that for anyone who genuinely desires the Lord, the Holy Spirit will grant strength, ability and guidance to act upon His word in a way that glorifies Him.

Thank you very much for what you’re doing. Only our Lord can adequately reward you and I look forward to that. I pray everyday that as I learn from you, I spread the love and truth and peace and freedom you teach.

Thank you Sir.

Response #7: 

I'm doing well – thanks for asking. And thank you so much for this encouraging email!

If you ask me, I think YOU are doing amazingly well with what the Lord has given you. Continuing to do the things a genuinely positive believer should do in spite of the very heavy work load you have and in spite of all of the other complications and distractions of this life is a testimony to the depth of your faith and commitment to the Lord. I am proud to know you as a sister in Christ.

I roomed with a med-student during four of my six years at UCI while getting my Ph.D. and I can affirm they are kept very busy here in the states as well. In our system over here, however, the residency period after medical school is even harder – so I hope that's not so much the case in your country.

Your fiancé is a very special individual and an outstanding believer in Jesus Christ. It has been a great privilege for me to correspond with him. I am convinced that the Lord has a significant ministry for him. He is uniquely talented in his ability to teach and explain the truth of the Word of God in a very powerful way. This is a rare and a precious gift.

It is a great blessing to find a good Christian spouse as scripture tells us (Prov.18:22 in the Hebrew). Finding an opposite number who is equally dedicated to the truth and to spiritual growth, progress and production is seldom seen or even heard of. So the two of you have been blessed by the Lord indeed.

I am certainly praying that things will work out well for the two of you and that all obstacles will be overcome. When God is behind something like this, not even the most imposing mountains can stand in the way without being eventually uprooted.

Keeping you both and your families too in my prayers day by day – and thank you so much for yours!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Hi Bob,

I'm not surprised to note your absence on there. I somehow didn't think it was your cup of tea and that you had already found a perfect place to teach and fellowship already!

To be honest I haven't had good experiences with forums in the past. Even a previous Christian forum sent me packing after I dared to suggest that Satan has a hand in world affairs! There seems to be a worrying amount of Christians who do not know of the devil's tricks! Many think him only a literary device!!

One of my first posts on the forum was about Martial Arts. Someone was interested in it and Bob I had to warn them of the spiritual dangers. Martial Arts and Yoga are inextricably linked with eastern philosophy and religions. They both invoke something called the "kundalini" Spirit which can only be described as possession! It seems to be a mockery and counterfeit of the true Holy Spirit. (Satan counterfeits everything I have noticed!)

I hope I don't get chastised for doing that! Before I became a Christian, I read around various esoteric practices. I know enough (whilst never being a practitioner of any) of the dangers of things such as the occult, freemasonry and the new age to warn other Christians. Unfortunately all three have infested the church and are being normalised. (For example some high profile Charismatics and Pentecostalists are taking part in such highly dubious practices as Grave Soaking and being "Drunk in the spirit"!)

Christian Yoga is a contradiction in terms! Just like how you can't have Christian Witches! (Although there is a worryingly growing number of people who would say otherwise)

It is my awareness of these nefarious practices that can be of good use to the Body of Christ though many do not like being told to give up something they have grown fond of. I hope my experience on this forum to be different and that people take my warnings in the spirit in which they are given, in the love of truth and concerned watchfulness.

God bless Bob.

In Him,

Response #8: 

Good for you, my friend! That is one of the benefits of such a forum, namely, to share with other believers experiences and insights and information that may be helpful. It's "better than church". And being able to commune with other – without the 'pastor' around – is important as well.

I appreciate your growth and hard work in the Lord, my friend!

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Dear sir, Calvary greetings to you. Hope you and family are doing good.

Thank you for the forum. I know without a doubt that I will find it helpful! I feel blessed to be a part of it (and you!) I will get on it after this mail. Brother, friend and teacher, thank you.

Dear Bob, you don't need to thank me for our friend. I may not know how to explain this, but I should be the one thanking you. I feel blessed to have someone with the same kindred spirit nearby (relatively). He thinks he is the one being helped. That may be, but I am the one actually being helped. His communications give me a lot of joy really. He has also been able to set me straight on some issues I read on Ichthys. It's just a matter of time (and money) before we meet. I am also praying that one day if the Lord wills, we will come to visit you in the US!

Thank you so much for the love of Christ that has been shed abroad in your heart and is manifest in your works upward!

May you finish strong indeed.

Your younger brother In Christ (elders always look out for their younger ones)

Response #9: 

You're most welcome – and thanks so much for your encouraging email, my friend (though our friend who runs the forum is the one who has done all the work on this – he's the one to thank).

I'm very happy that you and our friend have connected. Things over here in the US are similar in that while there are a few positive believers, usually we are not in the same general geographical area. Whether you all make it over here or not, I'm sure we'll be neighbors in New Jerusalem!

Haven't heard from our friend in a few days; please let me know if you learn anything.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. So as many of us as are mature [believers], let us think in this way, and if you think at all in a different [incorrect] way, God will reveal that to you. But with respect to the progress you have made, keep on advancing in the same way [in which you made it this far]!
Philippians 3:13-16

We keep pushing forward for Jesus Christ.

Your friend in Him,

Bob L.

Question #10:  

Dear Professor

Thank you for your good works in your Ministry that continues to bless me and fellow Ichthys adherents. I have been corresponding on Ichthys Community as well and responded to some of the postings. Members are encouraging and supporting one another and all through our postings and prayer for our various challenges.

After a couple of difficult weeks with too much to do (still much to go), I am writing from my daughter’s place where I arrived today with our youngest son, (our middle son was here already from the night before) After delivering some boxes to be sent to the Philippines to a freight company in Perth and a bit of driving around with my daughter, I needed a lie down for a couple of hours. My grandson has just got over a cold of 3 days and his sister has it from yesterday and now Jed has it. Hoping the rest of us, including my wife and our eldest son who arrive tomorrow will not succumb. My niece's wedding is on Friday in the park (rain forecast) followed by a semi formal reception at night.

Being quite tired to write coherently, I will write when things settle down a bit and the brain is back in gear.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #10: 

 Thanks for the update, my friend, and also for your continuing work on the index (changes made). Sounds like your in for a happy albeit quite busy time!

I'm also happy to hear that you are receiving and giving mutual encouragement and support on the forum – that was my greatest hope when our friend first broached the idea. As I've said many times, I really benefited in seminary from having a close-knit group of fellows who all came out of the same background (Col. Thieme's ministry) to bounce things off of after class – and our friendships have largely endured the test of time. Getting prepared to teach / engaging in Bible teaching without any such support or contacts other than oneself is not ideal. So I'm thrilled that this is working.

I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers for health and all other things.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Hello Brother Bob

Hope all is well with you and things have slowed down a little. I got the invite from ___ on the Ichthys forum, and have signed up. Based on what you know about me, can you recommend the best way to plug in?

Blessings on you life in service to Jesus

Response #11: 

I'm not on the forum, so I'm not exactly sure what it's looking like at the moment. I know the idea behind it was just to give Ichthys readers a place to meet and discuss – whatever. Naturally, since we all love the Word and the Lord, that's the connection point. I don't think there is any right or wrong way to join in. The thing is still in its infancy and I'm sure it'll develop to something different over time.

The local church is supposed to be a place of mutual encouragement, so getting to know others who love and live the truth and drawing encouragement from that and from them and offering it too would be ideal.

Keeping you and you group in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hello Bob,

I hope you are well, please let me know how you are doing. I fear that our fellowship is so one sided and I hardly get to hear how you are doing. I'd love to know more about your day to day world because you are one of the few friends I have that are in Christ that I can rely on.

Once more I have ignored your wise and sound advice. You advised me before to stay away from my therapist who is a shaman. I claimed to know better and it blew up in my face. I had the egotism to believe I could convert him to Christ, instead I let him practice new age mumbo jumbo on me and this led me into experiencing severe spiritual attack that same night! I realise now that when a Christian puts even just a toe into the enemy's camp, the spiritual attacks that will pummel down will be tenfold. I am happy to say that I no longer see this therapist and now am healing solely through God and His Word.

On another matter you gave me very wise counsel. Again I thought I knew better and again thought naively that I could win a soul over for the Body of Christ. Again, the folly of a young inexperienced believer! This is the matter on which I write to you today.

As you know, before becoming a Christian I was what they call a "conspiracy theorist/truther". It was partly due to my research on these types of topics which led me to understand that God is real and Jesus is the only way to God.

Whilst being a "truther" I made some acquaintances. One of these has recently been contacting me a great deal. She is the one who claimed the bible was the devil's codex! Recently she seemed to have changed her view on this and I believed her!

She was quoting scripture back to me and saying things about how God brought us together. I think her saying this in particular kept me close to her despite my increasing misgivings. I feel now that I have been pulled along the roller coaster of what the secular therapeutic community describes as narcissistic manipulation.

She "love bombed" me into thinking our friendship was melded together by God Himself by quoting scripture and telling me about miracles she experienced after I came into her life.

I noticed very early on that she referred to God as "the Creator" and never mentioned Jesus' name. This did set off alarm bells for me and so I backed off. She noticed that I was backing off gently and so she did something which has disgusted me. She realised that Jesus is the heart of my faith and so she changed tack, she dangled His precious name in front of me as though it were bait and I took the bait. I was really happy and relieved that she started to mention Jesus' name but now I realise that it was only the mere name dropping of a false convert.

I'm sad to say that I took the bait because all I heard was what I wanted to hear, she was now talking my language and I ignored the fact that she wasn't speaking sincerely about Him but merely paying lip service to the chief cornerstone of my faith.

She has become like a heat seeking missile. She knows exactly what I hold to be true, that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ is my only truth and hope. She also knows that I prefer to read the King James Bible. She no longer tells me that Jesus is really Zeus but now instead had turned her attentions to ripping apart King James and so his translated bible. She has "researched" King James to find the dirt on him and from this she has declared the bible to be corrupted and that we do not possess the preserved Word of God.

This does not shake my faith as I am on the rock now, I am building my life on Jesus Christ. What has very deeply hurt me is that she knows what I hold dear and she is on a mission to rip it from me and to tear it to shreds in front of my eyes. I am almost of the thinking that she wishes I would "worship her" instead!

She believes that she has a special relationship with God and doesn't need the bible and only wishes that I were more spiritually "evolved" as her to do the same.

I have tried to show her that Jesus Christ is the only way. I have tried to show her the Gospel. She has rejected both and now belittles me for holding onto them.

What should I do about this as a Christian? In the past, if ever I came across this type of person I would literally vanish from them and block all communication without even a goodbye. I am not sure whether this is the same route of escape I should pursue now. Please could you advise me on how to proceed?

I am having difficulty differentiating between being a humble servant to God and forgiving others and putting others first whilst not being a doormat for others to abuse and manipulate. I know that Jesus did set boundaries and I find this hard to do without feeling guilt about it.

Thank you for your continued prayers, teaching, support and fellowship.

God bless.

In Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

Response #12: 

It's good to hear from you always, my friend – although of course I'm sorry to see you distraught over this issue.

I think your final paragraph sums things up very nicely. We should be willing to help, love, minister – but not to be doormats, targets of manipulation, objects of abuse. We are supposed to be innocent as doves – but wise as serpents. Meaning that we recognize what this world is and what people are and refuse to look at things through rose-colored glasses.

I think you already know what I would advise you concerning this erstwhile friend – and indeed you also know for yourself without asking me. Emotions are the trouble. It's hard to put away any longstanding relationship, especially those we've invested much time and effort in. But there comes a time to begin loving such people "from a safe distance".

I want to see you happy in the Lord at all times, my friend, joyous in doing His will and advancing in His truth. People who are hostile to that are not worthy of our company. If we have doubts, the true situation is easily enough tested. But what if we've tested it over and over many times already?

There's nothing to say that we can't diligently pray for those we care about, even if it is not spiritually healthy for us to be in their presence. Separating where there is definite hostility and toxicity is not against the Lord's wishes in my view of scripture – and He gives us all we need to figure out the truth in each and every case.

I'm definitely keeping you in my prayers about this and all other things, my friend.

Apologies for the brevity – posting day, you know.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:  

Thank you so much Bob for your very swift and succinct reply!

It was full of grace, love, forgiveness and very elegant! Indeed I already had the answer but was merely reticent about carrying it out.

During Jesus' ministry people were visibly changed forever by His presence and teaching. Those who refused to be had already a hardness of heart and were more interested in selfish ambitions than how to have their lives completely renewed both through willing acceptance of and service to God.

It really falls down to this one decision: is a person joyous in receiving the truth and relieved to be released from the dust and rust of empty ambition or are they angered to be told they must humble themselves and serve a great God rather than themselves?

The biggest false idol a person can create is the idol of self worship. It never fails to amaze how many people serve a god who walks and talks exactly how they already do.

What I have found in my own walk is that it is pure joy to follow in Jesus' footprints and instead it is the road of self and sin that is heavy and burdensome. Both my previous cares and fleshly desires are falling away like autumn leaves. Despite the protestations of the world, Jesus' way is the true way and the most natural for us to take. Every fibre of my being sings out that this finally is what I was made to do!

If people are stubborn enough to ignore this obvious truth then they are missing out not only on glorious Salvation but also on the one chance of living the best and most joyous life a person can experience.

I also must add that resting in Jesus' finished work as my sabbath rest has finally revealed itself to be true and nourishing to me on a very personal level.

In Him,

Response #13: 

Thanks for this highly encouraging email, my friend!

It does my heart good to see you fighting such a good fight. Powerful words of truth here. This is the truth that unbelievers suppress and that far too many believers can't articulate as you have so wonderfully done because of their lukewarmness to the truth.

Stay on fire for the Lord and for His Word of truth, my friend! That is key to continued growth and to the development of the ministry the Lord has for you.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Dear Professor

Thank you for your kind reply. I understand that you would want to pass commenting on forum interactions and I will endeavour to mostly steer clear of asking you to do so.

I am coming from your teaching that all truth is important and the need for all believers to come to a knowledge of the truth. Being also a babe in Christ, I want to ensure I am not spreading heresies.

As you know I meet at coffee club each Monday to meet with other believers of different flavors and amongst other things, we discuss scripture. Yesterday I only thought to bring up peoples understanding of “easy yoke” and “bearing our crosses” as we all were about to leave. I noted that each reply was somewhat different and was asked if I would bring the explanation I had read at the forum. I did not want to try and verbalise it in case I misquoted it and also I had no idea how many Mosaic laws there were. I did not want to repeat something that I had not checked out as being totally consistent with the truth in case I was a little off in my recollection. ___ had previously brought up the subject of “my yoke is easy” and I said that it also might seem a contradiction of “pick up your cross”. My explanation to her was not with the same understanding and excellent presentation which ___ later replied to my posting when I asked for the forums understanding of the subject. I am unsure whether you read any of the forums posts so I will paste a part of my post. I was recalling my conversation with __ on this issue.

One thing that she brought up was ; “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. Matthew 11:30. And I am thinking of the other seemingly contradictory; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”. Matthew 16:24.

I said that I am understanding that the yoke is easy and burden light, in comparison to Jesus’ own burden of taking ALL our sins of ALL of us to the cross and suffering for each and every one of them. That burden is OUR sins that we do not have to carry or pay for, OR indeed that we COULD ever pay for in order to be saved. Our cross, as I understand, is denying ourselves and living for Christ in place of living for ourselves.

I did feel the Spirit with us as we spoke. The above is just an approximate recall of what transpired. I am interested in other people’s understanding of these scriptures.

I am concerned that I share only the truth with others. Otherwise I would be biting my tongue quite a bit and not contributing any truth and understanding if I am not sure of the truth of my words. The heresies promoted in the Church even during the lives of the Apostles, remind me that we need to be certain only the truth from scripture is taught.

I do notice there are some differences of understanding or explanation of some members in the forum and it tends to get ironed out with input from the group. I just put out there my journey and I am happy for others to comment, add, or correct my posts where my understanding is lacking. Being willing to be teachable through the Spirit is good along with the scriptures and a Bible teacher (Ichthys).

I do like mixing with other believers in physical person and also to promote the truths from scripture that you teach until we all come to a unity of the faith. Visiting our temporary renter yesterday I struck up a conversation with him after he discerned that I was a believer - not that difficult for him as I was talking about Christ being God (he said Christ never said He was). Followed with a quick bit of the 7 Millennial Days and the Coming Tribulation. In the background the TV news was showing the building of multi layered underground tombs in Jerusalem where the incumbents (Jews?) to be buried would be guaranteed to be resurrected to heaven. Don’t know the cost of one but surely a prudent investment! (Might some promote this as no matter the cost, sell all you have for this pearl of great price?) He had previously phoned me while I was out chainsawing wood to say he had lost the key to the house. At the house I told him that I was tired and slipped and the chainsaw cut just through my jeans and nicked my thigh. He said someone is looking after you - to which I agreed. Arriving home I text him your Ichthys website. He replied that he might just check it out.

I am grateful that our friend has supplied us the forum venue to “meet” and encourage each other. I am grateful for you and your Ministry in the truth.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student and friend

Response #14: 

Indeed, all truth is important. That is certain. There's certainly a sweet spot between the two obvious extremes of never saying / writing anything on the one hand and gushing forth all manner of untested things on the other. We all get better about finding the center of the road day by day (or should).

I think what you are sharing and doing is excellent. When it comes to applying scripture (which is different from interpreting the precise meaning of a given passage), it's like I tell my students about translations: "There may be dozens, even hundreds of right ways to render a passage into English; try to stay away from the millions and billions of wrong ones".

I'm thrilled that you are finding the forum valuable. I'm trying to send more likely folks our friend's way. I'm hoping it will also be a way to provide some needed fellowship with others who are likewise committed to the truth of the Word.

Thanks as always for your updates, my friend, for your good words about this ministry, and of course for your prayers. Keeping you and your family in mine day by day.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:  

Dr. Luginbill: Hope you are well.

My old head is still struggling with how to be at least a minor voice in trying to awaken folks to the plights of our day. Consequently, I trying to develop perhaps a series of installments that might deal with, for example, these and other questions (see below) that would be answered by your writings and a few others. I'd like your opinion of these questions, as to whether they might be ones that the average person might think of. Thanks you as usual for who and what you are and do.

A few of the questions that we humans might want to consider...

Do we have any idea of why the creation exists?

Does mankind know much of what the future holds for us and the universe?

If we believe that there is a God who created everything, is it not then logical that He (God) knows everything?

If God does know and control all things, how much has he informed us, mere finite beings, of His truths and His plans?

Since God created the beginning, is it then logical that there will also be an end, and what are His purposes for the time between the beginning and the end?

Since he created angels and humans with “free will”, how has our ability to choose affected us and the very nature of the creation?

Response #15: 

This is an excellent idea, my friend.

Great questions! And YOU know the answers too.

A wonderful evangelical tool. Will be posting eventually.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:  

Hi Bob,

I just wanted to say thank you very much for the link on my email today. I read all the emails and I can't tell you enough how much they have helped me. It has cleared up some confusion for me as well.

I've been hit really hard and have cried on and off for two days and a night but I know I'll be OK. I've got the Lord and I'm very privileged and pleased to take any hit for Him and "count it all joy".

I want to write more to you but I need a few days to gather my thoughts. I just wanted to say thank you so much.

Yours in Jesus Christ

Response #16: 

I'm distraught to hear of your troubles.

But remember: Whatever tears we have to shed in this life as we sow for the Lord, we always have to keep in mind that we are soon going to be reaping with shouts of joy (Ps.126:5-6), "filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" in fact (1Pet.1:8).

I'll be keeping you in prayer and waiting on your email.

In Jesus Christ who bore all of our sins to rescue us.

Bob L.

Question #17:  

Hi Bob,

The Lord certainly is good and gave me the perfect "exercise" and I've been thinking about it all today. I can't even say that I didn't "get it" straightaway because "it" isn't like that. "It" has been a process and I've learnt things with each stage of the process. He took the place of my earthly parents. He showed me His perfect love as my heavenly Father. "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in". (Psalm 27:10) He filled that gap.

The Lord has used the worst thing I've ever gone through in this life to give me the best thing I could possibly have in this life. I wonder whether it's the reason for it all happening to me since I was a child in the first place. He has taken care of me by taking me out of that situation and protecting me from any more harm. He has put a stop to it, but He didn't remove it in an easy way, but by walking with me through it. I learnt to keep my eyes firmly fixed on the Lord - on what the Spirit was guiding me to do and what His Word was telling me to do. And to do this in amongst all the pressure and the noise of others trying to pull me in a different direction. He gave me the courage and the strength to do what I knew He wanted me to do. He helped me to hang in there and to persevere (Romans 5:3-5). Showing me His perfect love for me, His grace, His mercy, His righteousness, His patience and His faithfulness in giving me everything I needed to help me to learn and to build up my faith and trust in Him - I've grown spiritually. I'm so glad He "doled" it out and ALL of the glory is His. He is beautiful and there is no one else like Him.

Still praying for you - keep me posted!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #17: 

David is your exemplar here indeed (Ps.22:9-10). The Lord often brings us "through it" rather than delivering us "from it" (Ps.66:12). That is the whole point of the exodus, out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, through the wilderness, into the land – if we are willing to follow and trust, unlike the exodus generation or, for that matter, the generation of Laodicea. We all need to learn to stop working and start trusting – doing what we need to do, yes, but waiting on the Lord to bring deliverance in His own perfect time.

You will keep in perfect peace (actually "double peace") those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3 NIV

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it."
Isaiah 30:15 NIV

(9) So there does remain a "Sabbath day's rest" for the people of God. (10) For he who has entered into [God's] rest has himself ceased from his works just as God did from His own. (11) Let us therefore be eager to enter into that [continual and spiritual] rest, lest anyone fall [from grace] following the same pattern of disobedience [as the Exodus generation did].
Hebrews 4:9-11

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:  

Hi Bob,

The Lord really did bless me with a lovely holiday.

While I was away I had been reading BB 4B about the Lord's natural revelation and I could see a part of this so clearly where we were staying. The sunsets were amazing. Each night it was different and the colours were beautiful and reflected onto the sea. People were taking photos of it and whether they choose to acknowledge it or not this was a part of our Lord's glory, power and majesty fully on display for them. A part of His natural revelation. Everything He does is impressive.

Something else that really stood out to me were the waves - they were huge. I was watching them building up and up and then come crashing in against the rocks. I watched for ages and there was so much power behind them. All I could think about was that we have the power of Almighty God pulsing within US! When you really stop to think about that - well it's mind-boggling. The same God who created the heavens and the earth lives in us. I was trying to express what I was feeling inside and then I found something you wrote in Pneumatology and I thought yes - that's it! That's what I'm trying to put into words. It's something I already knew, but it was like the Spirit was reminding me of what is possible when we don't put any limits on His power working in and through us.

You wrote that the Holy Spirit is the One who personally makes possible, directs and empowers the spiritual growth of all believers:

(17) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord's Spirit is, there is freedom. (18) And everyone of us, if we reflect the Lord's glory with no "veil" obscuring our faces (i.e., with unsullied Christian witness), is being transformed into the same image [of God] (i.e., become more Christ-like as we use our will to respond to Him) so as to reflect an ever greater degree of [God's] glory [as we do so] (lit., "from glory to glory") - exactly what is to be expected with the Lord's Spirit as the agent [of our transformation].
2nd Corinthians 3:17-18

And that's what I want - to continue in this way. Using my will to respond to Him more and more, to be drawn even closer and closer to Him so as to reflect an ever greater degree of God's glory. Just as I saw His sunset reflect onto the sea.

Also, we went on a few long coastal walks and the views were beautiful. The walks were challenging - going up and down steep hills, steps and rocks. It was a good test for my knees and I'm so happy to say I had absolutely no pain at all. I think it did them a lot of good and if I lived there I'd probably try to walk it every day.

We stayed in a holiday house and when we first got there I found shelves full of really old, well read books. I noticed there were a few different versions of the Bible and books on the Psalms, hymns, prayer books and lots more books on Christianity which I wasn't expecting at all. I didn't need to bring my own Bible with me!

I found out that the house used to belong to a couple who were missionaries in China. It was their retirement home and it belongs to their adult children now. Their mom had lived to 100 so the sea air must have been good for her. I thought it was great that they've left all their parents books in the house because who knows how many visitors might pick up one of those books and come to know the Lord. It's a great way of still evangelising.

I found a beautiful Bible dated 1933 that was written in Mandarin. It was really interesting to look at even though I couldn't understand a word of it! The writing just looked like little pictures or symbols. There was also a really old massive Mandarin dictionary which weighed a ton.

So I'm really grateful to the Lord for such a lovely holiday.

Always praying for you, too.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #18: 

Thanks for your inspiring email! It's really encouraging to hear from believers who are walking closely with the Lord and enjoying the trip. I'm happy to hear that your health is holding up (been praying for that). Happy to hear also that you had such a nice holiday! I think you earned it, so well done you!

I've had some achy knees lately myself. Tried to push things a bit to fast last week, but feeling better today after backing off a bit.

Thanks for your prayers and for your Christian friendship, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:  

Hi Bob,

I hope your knees are still feeling better. At least it gives you an idea of how much they can or can't quite cope with at the moment.

I was looking forward to the walks on holiday because I wanted to push my knees a little bit more just to test them out and see how they responded. I was pleased that I didn't get any pain and I want to try and keep that level of exercise going. I've stayed at the same level for quite a long time and I think I can nudge them along some more now. Finding the 'sweet spot' is a tricky business (as you well know!) but if I don't continue to push on I won't see much more progress. I've come a long way but there's still room for improvement.

When I first started back to work and I was getting that burning feeling or pain I wanted to stick with it because I was hoping my knees would toughen up and get used to it. I've worked Mon, Tues, Wed so far this week (nice early finish today) and they've been the best since I started back to work. So I really do think they're hardening up to it.

As I've got stronger I've been able to increase the load or speed or distance but in small amounts. What's also tricky is that sometimes I've increased it and felt pain and known I had to reduce it again and then other times I've increased and felt pain but given it a chance and eventually my knees would get used to it. I think it depends on how far along you are with the healing. I had to go really slow and careful to begin with for a long time, but then the further along you are the better the joints will take the increase in exercise.

Each injury/pain is different and I'm not sure if this will be of any help to you, Bob but maybe some of it might be. It takes some working out but I've never ever thought that I wouldn't get better and I know that with time you will get there too. Especially when we have the Lord and I include your health in my prayers for you every day.

I'm not sure if I'll ever get back to jogging again. I was just about to start training for a half marathon before it happened but I ended up training to walk again! But I'm very happy to be able to walk normally and to even get back to work again. I'm getting closer and closer to full fitness and I can't thank you enough for your prayers. The Lord is without a doubt helping me along the way.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #19: 


I do very much appreciate your perspective, encouragement, and especially also your enthusiasm for our Lord and His truth. Thanks very much also for your prayers, my friend. I'm encouraged by your update. Keep the good news coming!

Keeping you in my prayers day by day as well.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:  

Hi Bob,

I've had a good rest this weekend (I was off on Friday too) and I've been doing lots of stretches. Yes, you're right - I won't be agreeing to work later again. I'm the sort who will help out where I can but I think sometimes they forget that I'm only temporary and they have younger permanent staff who could have done this. Too soft on my part I suppose.

___ said to me the other day that for a long time I seem to be in my own "little bubble". Sometimes you don't realise these things until someone tells you. I think that's right but that "little bubble" is where I pray and think about the Lord and read His Word and your teaching. "There's life outside your little bubble, you know." I'm not so sure about that one, but I will definitely take on board what was said. Maybe I've been a bit preoccupied with the Lord but I can't help it. This life is hard and I need Him:

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God. (Psalm 42:1)

Your friend in our Lord Jesus Christ

Response #20: 

I'm glad to hear that you're taking pains to protect your hard-won gains. I am praying for your next step to be to just the right place. And also for "break through" with ___. You are doing your bit, that is for sure (e.g., 1Pet.3:1-2).

As to bubbles, the truth cannot help but change everything about the way we look at the world. That is the whole key to walking closer to Christ. You are not closing yourself off. You are opening yourself up to what is really glorious and eternal.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2nd Corinthians 4:18 NIV

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:  

Hi Bob,

Thanks so much for taking the trouble to fill me in on the enrollment progress. I'll be very pleased when you know where you are with everything and can get settled into another year. Not long now!

I've made lots of mistakes too over the years with rushing into jobs and a couple of them turned out to be disastrous! There are certain ones I know to definitely avoid. I've learnt my lesson and that's why I'm being more cautious and patient. It's comforting to know I have the Lord's protection too and I'll remember His promise to me - Proverbs 3:5-6

I love how the Lord worked things out for you in your job and how good it turned out to be for the ministry. He's so good and I know that He can do that for me too. The right job and still time and energy to do the things I need to do to grow spiritually.

So suddenly lots happening all at once. Some happy, but trials and tests as well. I'm holding the Lord's hand and I'm calm and I'm reassured to know that everything He allows to happen - unpleasant testing or whatever in the end is very very good for me. In the midst of all this it's going to teach me to use wisdom and I'm praying for more of that and to be patient, to listen to Him carefully, to rely on Him more and to trust Him even more. I'm going to walk through it steadily with Him and I'm pleased to know that I'll have grown some more when we're through. And even better that I'll have pleased our Lord.

I was thinking about it, and it's not that the trials and tests are easy - anything but – it's that I value spiritual maturity more than ease. And it's only because of this that I can understand what His word means when it says to "count it all joy."

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17)

I'm learning all the time, and thanks so much for your help and prayers.

Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus

Response #21: 

Well, prayers are appreciated for enrollments. Just heard today our dean is going to cancel the other first year Latin section – wants me to take in all the left-overs – and also wants to cancel all of my upper level Greek and Latin classes; mind you, this won't save any money because I don't get more than partial credit for them and there's nothing else for me to teach now (I'm not going be teaching Russian, e.g.), but it does cost the college the loss of the students cancelled out. Anyway, I wrote my chair that I would take the leftovers if they don't cancel the upper level conference classes. We'll have to see if she can make the dean see reason on this point. If not, I'll bump through the next ten months and see what the next regime is like [update; old dean left unexpectedly at the end of the semester].

I also have to tell you that your positive attitude of embracing the joy in spite of the pressure is MOST encouraging. That's exactly how it's supposed to be done! But it's a pretty rare thing to see. Good for you! Stars in your crown, I'll wager.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:  

Thanks Bob for putting me in the picture - it helps a lot with my prayers for you. How you've explained it all to me and what you're requesting makes perfect sense and seems perfectly reasonable to me. So I'm praying that your dean will see this too. I hope you don't mind me asking, I was wondering whether your pay is affected by things like the number of classes you teach or class sizes or are you ok and just salaried? Just so as I can understand the situation better.

Thanks so much for your prayers concerning __. After this recent session I realised that something more needs to be done. I'm praying about it and looking to the Word and listening to the Spirit. It's a very tricky and complicated situation, but I think I'm just beginning to see in small ways the best way to handle certain parts of it - if that makes any sense. I've still got some way to go yet but I'm asking the Lord to help and guide me.

Also, I need help understanding 1st Corinthians 5:11 [omitted]

Thank you so much for your help and prayers with this. I will definitely get there with the Lord's help.

Praying for you every day.

Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus

Response #22: 

No, it doesn't really matter in terms of compensation: they took away my x-pay for research (essentially) when they fired my colleague, and I have tenure, so while they might be able to try and make my life miserable and put me in a bind, they'd have a very hard time firing me. That's a good thing, because the job is needful. As things stand now, our new chair has said she'll try and keep the upper level classes. If she's not successful, I'll have to jigger with my contract a bit, but not much will change – nothing that can't be rebuilt in years to come, albeit gradually. When a tornado comes through, you crawl out of the shelter, assess the damage, and rebuild. The wind is still ablowin' here so I'm still in hunker-down mode for the rest of the year. I was concerned that they might want to cancel first year Greek (only nine in there and you're supposed to have twenty – a very rare number for Greek anywhere). That really WOULD have put a crimp in things.

I've been praying for your situation. People really can't be fixed unless they decide to seek God's help and do something about it themselves (that's my experience, at any rate). As to 1st Corinthians 5:11, the main thing to note is that this is a list of examples not meant to be comprehensive. So for example, "kidnapper" and "drug dealer" and "murderer" are not on this list, nor "snake in the grass" or "person with evil intent" or "fomentor of divisions" etc., doesn't exempt these other categories. Just because "it" is not on the list (whatever "it" may be), doesn't mean that "it" is not an equally pressing reason to separate from trouble-makers. After all, Paul's conclusion in v.13 is "remove the evil person from your midst" (and "evil" / poneros covers a great deal of territory – anything "not good").

As to the word "slanderer" (Greek loidoros) it means someone who is verbally abusive – and that covers a lot of ground too. Maybe a gossip or busybody or liar wouldn't technically be a loidoros, but Paul didn't have time and space to put everything down.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, right when you're also having to be concerned about a job search. Sounds like a test – same on this end. I think God's got it covered though – in fact I know it for a fact.

Thanks for your prayers, my friend! Keeping you in mine daily as well.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:  

Hi Bob,

I had a great last day! We all filled our bellies with chocolate cake and I had a beautiful bunch of flowers - lilies, sunflowers, roses and gerberas, a box of chocolates, a card and a bottle of wine from my boss. I got hugs off everyone and they said what a pleasure it was to have met and worked with me and they said they hope they will see me again soon. My boss thanked me for working with him and he said I helped him to get through what has been a very stressful three months for him. You wouldn't believe what he's been through in the short time I was there. There's definitely a glimmer of more hours there, but I will continue to look at other vacancies. I'm so grateful to the Lord for such a lovely opportunity and I'm grateful to Him now for a little rest!

I'm so sorry to hear about your colleague and I have said a prayer for her today. I love her response! That's definitely a good way to handle it. When I'm going through a rough times I have seen how a little humor does lighten things up and help to get through.

I trust that the Lord will guide me and give me the strength to do what He wants me to do right now.

So you're the only Greek and Latin teacher left? How is that going to affect you now with things like your workload? Is there any more news today?

I'm praying, praying, praying for you.

Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus

Response #23: 

I'm delighted to hear your report! I've known people who've worked places for 30+ years and not gotten such a send-off! And it was heartfelt – which explains everything, actually.

A verse I stumbled onto:

But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
2nd Thessalonians 3:6 NIV

The Greek word ataktos means, literally, "out of ranks" – a big concern in the battles of the ancient world where victory or defeat lay largely in everyone staying right in their place and doing their job regardless of the pressure and risk. And "out of ranks" certainly covers a great deal of ground as well. The Spirit is the One who guides us through those "application judgment calls".

Another one regarding what you'd said about the storm:

Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding."
Job 37:2-5 NIV

Yes, I'm the only one left now. Maybe that is a good thing. God works things out in ways that we often can't anticipate. In any case, I have to wait now until at least some time next week to find out about the upper level classes. I plan to "hang in" this year regardless. On the plains, when the storm comes, they get into underground shelters and wait it out. "There goes the house! Maybe it's over now – no! There goes the barn!" But when the all-clear sounds, they come out and assess . . . and rebuild. That's what resilient people do. That's my plan . . . after the all-clear.

Thanks for your prayers, my friend! Keeping you and yours in mine every day too.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:  

Hi Bob,

I want to thank you for how patient you have been with me through this trial. Thanks for hanging in there with me. For encouraging me and praying for me and teaching me from the Word and sharing your experience and opinions with me. It's all been so valuable and helpful to me. I've learnt a LOT and it has helped me to grow quickly and so it's been well worth the bumpy ride.

Took me a while to finally make the best decision in the Spirit. Bit of growth needed, prayer for wisdom (James 1:5) and trial and error but I got there in the end. I'm very happy and settled so onwards and upwards!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Saviour

Response #24: 

It is so true that we need the opposition to grow – just like exercise. It's a blessing to know that our perfect Savior is the One doling it out – so we can be sure it's the perfect "exercise" even when we are not fond of what's happening – which is usually whenever testing is happening. It's hard to keep perspective when the pressure is on – so I appreciate your good attitude all the more! Much more importantly, I'm certain that the Lord does as well.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #25:  

Thank you for your prayers, I'm trying not to get anxious and just let it flow the way it's going to be.

There are certain things I don't like about this job and so I weaving my way around all of it trying to stay positive. I haven't been asked to sub very much at the high school this year. I'm actually here today and yesterday. I'm struggling with the atmosphere. The adults here seem to me to have never left their high school days. I'm really looking forward to getting busy with my other career so I don't have to come back and, more than anything, to give __ the opportunity to leave his miserable job. He should be getting laid off soon. His boss took his company truck away to save money in his pocket along with not paying him his driving time like I have discussed with you before. It accumulates . . . [details omitted]

My boy said the cutest thing this morning.

Him: Mom did God create us?
Me:  Yes he did!
Him: God is a great Artist: he put the nose in the perfect place.

Response #25: 

Love your son's quote!

I don't know how you put up with that boss. I have been praying about this for a long time. Will continue to do so. Also praying for success for you in your new endeavor. Everything takes longer than we would like, it seems. That's part of the testing of being here. But we know that God can get it done for us even if things spin out far longer than we thought we could survive them. That has been the story of my life! And my testimony is that He has always been faithful. Indeed. He couldn't be otherwise, for He is our perfect, loving God.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:  

Hi Bob and family,

Thank you so much for posting the article ‘A Short Essay On Faith’ – it is very much appreciated.

I am so happy to point others in ichthys direction through those articles and some have already thanked me for doing so – I hope there has also been some who haven’t told me.

If I can be a help to others in that regard I am even more happy that those who read the articles and see much more value in ichthys – but unfortunately in this age, less and less are interested. I hope that shortly there will be an overall revival before it’s too late and they are lost.

I truly wish I could have had these same desires many years ago when I was far from God, perhaps I could have been more of a help instead of a hindrance.

So easy and so clear to see that we are living in the last days.

As always dear Bob and with brotherly love,

Response #26: 

Thanks so much!

I certainly appreciate all of your wonderful efforts on behalf of this ministry – and on behalf of the Lord.

Proud to have you as a brother in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:  

Hi Bob and family,

I was thinking about you and wanted to wish you and yours a merry Christmas and for improvements health wise in 2020.

It is also my hope as the days draw closer, that more would come to understand their need for salvation. So sad for them that the age of Laodicea is well and truly with us with many living only for today without a care of what is coming tomorrow. It is so easy to see the spiritual paralysis that has gripped so many in such a short time and I realise the fall will be even greater as time goes on.

I also want to thank you for the wonderful insight ichthys has given me in regard to the Spirit. Before I found ichthys, (or was directed) I never had a full appreciation of the Spirit – I can honestly say I didn’t really know him – I always wondered about him but he wasn’t living in me by making me consciously aware of his presence before ichthys gave me a greater knowledge and appreciation of him and I am truly thankful for that.

And in writing the articles I’ve written – if you had told me even 15 years ago that I would have done so, I’m sure I wouldn’t have believed you and now I just want to do more.

Will make this do for now dear Bob and as always with brotherly love,

Response #27: 

Thanks so much for this, my friend!

I appreciate your sentiments and good words very much.

Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas also.

Keeping you my prayers every day.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:  

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find the following audio file:


One of the things I find extremely satisfying is the confirmation of the Holy Spirit when it comes to accurate teaching of Scripture, He leaves no room for doubt. Worship is one that I’ve taking quite a bit of flack on in the past, “you don’t even go to church”, is something I’ve heard more than once when trying to have a conversation about some doctrinal issue. I remember the confusion I experienced when I was in church and college, but I figured the guys teaching this stuff were educated and knew what they were talking about, so I brushed my doubts aside, after all, who am I to question? One of my first college classes had to do with creation and we were beginning the book of Genesis and I was being taught that God created the earth in an instant (which He did) but that this happened 6,000 years ago, and the thought occurred to me that the earth already existed in verse 1, and that it was formless, empty and dark, it just didn’t make sense compared to the instantaneous perfect creation the instructor was going on about. While I did well in college (with the exception of math) there were occasions where the professor had to whip out the big red pen to make some contradictory notes on a few papers, but I guess that’s what I get for thinking for myself. My point is that many of the things that I have gleaned from Scripture, experience and observation generally come to be verified as true when compared to real Bible teaching and study. So, thanks for providing the real thing!

Hope you had a pleasant Thanksgiving, ours was fine here. Had a week off from work and just piddled around the house tying up some loose ends on the kitchen/laundry room project which is, thankfully, done. Also got in some much needed rest and relaxation. Keep up all the good work. Got you in prayer daily here.

All the best,


Response #28: 

Yes, not being formally connected to a church with choir and membership duties and all that goes on can be "liberating", especially since nowadays there's mostly no spiritual growth going on for all the trouble and effort. We just have to remember Galatians 5:13 and use that freedom to learn the truth and serve the Lord the right way.

Glad to hear you've had a little bit of a rest. I'm sure both of you could use it. Wishing you a very nice Christmas time, and praying for you as well, my friend!

Audio file received and uploaded AOK. Thank you!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:  

Hello Brother Bob,

It's been a long time since we had any of these long email conversations but today marks a year since I met you and subsequently my 22nd birthday. I hope you've been well. I sent this mail to say thank you for everything. Every clarification. Every explanation. Thank you so much.

This time last year, I was at a place of confusion on "What is the faith?" and the singular decision to Google a few of my confusions led me to your website and to you. That decision was one of the best decisions I made in my entire life.

Thank you. God bless you.

In Christ,

Response #29: 

Wonderful to hear from you, my friend!

I very much appreciate your message, brother, and I'm keeping you in my prayers every day. Let me know how things go with you.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, and a blessed 2020.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:  

Hello Rob,

Thanks so much for the text, brother.

The situation now is that my Dad and Mom are still in their position as "extremist legalists", they love but I've not shown them my conviction yet. I'm just pretty sure they'd hate me when I do.

But my mind is made up and I chose March 2020 as the year I'd leave. I'm in school presently for Postgraduate studies.

With conviction, God has been wonderful. I have very good knowledge now, I became a Bible student and God has given me understanding.

Thanks again for asking. I hope you are good too. I'd love to hear about your own situation too. Thank you for all the prayer.

God bless you.

In Christ,

Response #30: 

Thank you for this encouraging email, my friend!

I'll be keeping you and your transition in my prayers. Going "outside the gate" is never an easy thing to do, but it is the only place to find the Lord and follow Him the right way (Heb.13:12-13).

If your parents are like almost all parents I know, while they won't be pleased with your decision, they won't stop loving you – ever. And besides, the best way to help anyone we love is to lead by positive example. It always takes courage to do what is right, but it is seldom regretted after the fact, in spite of the cost.

Wishing you a blessed new year in your walk with Jesus Christ, my friend!

Feel free to write me any time.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.


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