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Mutual Encouragement in Christ XII

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Question #1:  

Please pray for me. I have been crushed and am unable to rise above my current state. Crawling at best. A miracle of healing Lord. Please. Spiritual disabling depression and hopelessness …. Have to gain my faith back…where I moved to ___, now stuck here or led here?

I thought it was your will Lord?!

Response #1: 

Faith grows like a muscle when we use it to believe and apply the truth. So my advice is always the same, namely, be reading deeply into the studies at Ichthys and determine to believe the truth of the Word of God in all you do.

I'll be keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Thank you, Bob.

My most urgent request if obviously for some peace and a sign that my dad is truly saved.

If you have any suggestions for conversations or for prayer with my dad …. Or scripture for me when I get overwhelmed, I’d appreciate it.

I’m a fumbling mess at the moment and constantly fighting off the fear and worry.

Response #2: 

I'm certainly praying for you and your dad and this situation.

As to suggestions, just remember that God has everything in hand and everything planned. He knows your heart and He knows your dad's. He's working things out for good – even though it's always hard to hold onto that truth when we're being tested like this. Hold onto the peace the Lord gives you and let the Spirit guide you to the rest.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.
[please say a prayer for our friend whose father passed recently]

Question #3:  

1) Can you recommend to me the next couple of Greek works? Just throw a couple of things at me, I don't know where to go from here. I am still on 2 hrs most, most days, but many of the lists already have what I have gotten. I do think eventually I will go back over what I have gotten again.

2) Can you also tell me if Anabasis is true to history? And I am reading some of the comedies like Birds and it is kind of funny (maybe a bit vulgar if I read right?). Are there any books to help put any Greek works more in their context that you are already familiar with? It is okay if not. You already do a lot for me.

3) Please let me know how you are doing (if you want),


Response #3: 

Things are good here. I am concerned about the spike in Delta numbers since it may negatively affect our university's "return to normal" program; also, I don't want to be put in a position of "get vaccinated or lose your job" [update: things I dodged by getting vaccinated: 1) forced to quarantine and not be able to teach for two weeks – disaster! – if any student in my classes came down with Covid; 2) weekly mandatory testing; 3) wearing a mask all the time including while teaching – impossible; 4) maybe Covid too]. Very HOT here too . . . but then YOU live in Texas, so . . . Having to get up earlier than normal and run first thing to be able to get some miles in before it's impossible.

Did you ever read Herodotus? Even if you've done so in English, he's wonderful in Greek. So many interesting stories. And plenty there in the nine books to keep you busy.

There are plenty of "histories of Greek literature" and they all have their strengths and weaknesses; here's a link to one I have which I consider pretty good.

As to "what is history", well, people have been debating that from the beginning and won't ever stop until history runs its course. Personal accounts are among some of the best sources, but we do always have to take them with a grain of salt because 1) memory isn't perfect, and 2) personal accounts are always at least partially self-serving.

I'm glad to hear that your job is going well! I do keep that in my prayers.

As to "what ifs", as mentioned before, we all have to remember that the Lord is in control and the "what if" is always going to be not the "what if" we had imagined but totally different including the way we process the real thing. So it's better not to think about that and instead concentrate on growing in our trust of the Lord. He is the only one who can make the "what if" work out, even if it seems impossible to us. [note to Bob: good principle to apply in regard to paragraph #1 above]

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for posting Peter #35. I am working my way through right now and am learning much from the insights you bring out. I love being able to better understand God's Word - it makes my heart burn within me like the men on the road to Emmaus must have felt when Jesus explained the scriptures to them. Words cannot express how thankful I am for your ministry. I thank God for you and your willingness to put in the hard work and long hours necessary to make this ministry available to all who are hungry for the truth. Thank you.

I recently shared the Ichthys website with my sister and with a longtime friend who used to attend the Baptist church that my wife and I attended (before we were asked to leave). My friend no longer attends that church nor any church building but I know he loves the Lord and has struggled through some hard, hard times. He has a good heart and I am encouraging him to study the "Satan's Rebellion" series. Though we live in Montana, both my friend and my sister live in Kansas.

I have some questions I would like to ask about faith:

Romans 12:3 ....according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Does God determine whether we have faith and how much faith we have?

Heb 12:1-2 ...turn our gaze unto Jesus, the originator and completer of our faith. Is Jesus the source or the object of our faith?

2nd Peter 1:1....to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours..... Is our faith a gift from God or a free will choice we make?

I Corinthians 12:9 in talking about the gifts given by the Spirit, Paul says one of the gifts is faith. Does Paul mean great faith? Or unusual faith? Is faith one of the spiritual gifts like pastor/teacher?

Response #4: 

Thanks much for all the very encouraging words, my friend! I'm also thrilled to hear how you are reaching out to share the truth with others.

On Romans, here is my translation:

Through the grace which has been given to me I tell everyone among you not to over-think [his role] beyond what he ought to think, but to direct his thinking towards sober thoughts [in this regard], inasmuch as God has allotted each [and every] one of us a measure of [our common] faith [in Jesus Christ] (cf. 2Pet.1:1).
Romans 12:3

In other words, this refers to the fact that we ALL have a faith plant (sprouted from the seed of the Word: Lk.8:4-15), we just need to grow it; we all have a faith muscle, we just need to exercise it. Our Lord constantly told us that if we had even a minuscule amount of faith we could work wonders, and often reproaches the disciples for being "of little faith". Point being that great faith is a choice not a predisposition.

On 2nd Peter 1:1, I see it the same way: we all have a faith muscle/plant. And it is of SUCH value. Because faith is our free will, it is our image of God. It IS the ability to believe and trust the Lord . . . which is the basis of all spiritual growth.

On 1st Corinthians 12:9, here is what I write in BB 5 about this special and temporary (and no longer being given) spiritual GIFT of faith:

As to the gift of faith (specifically, "faith in/by the Spirit"), the phrase "in/by the Spirit" is added to distinguish this as a spiritual gift concerned with the Spirit's communication of the truth as opposed to the heart-aspect of the faith we believers all have in common. The first two gifts mentioned, "word of wisdom through the Spirit" and "word of knowledge according to the same Spirit", are clearly both communication gifts, as the Greek word logos, "word", indicates. This collocation makes it clear that the third gift mentioned, the "gift of faith", had a similar function to the other two gifts listed here. Just as the "word of wisdom" was given to believers to impart spiritual wisdom to other believers (not necessarily as a pastor but in believer to believer fellowship, formal and informal), and just as the "word of knowledge" was given to believers to impart spiritual knowledge (wisdom being application of truth to a particular circumstance; knowledge consisting of raw truth, learned today from scripture and Bible teaching alone, but during this brief period being communicated directly by the Spirit and meant to be repeated to other believers), so the gift of faith seems to have been given with the purpose of imparting encouragement to other believers to help them strengthen and rally their own faith.

On Hebrews 12:1-2, Jesus is the One in whom we believe and the Alpha and Omega of everything concerning our faith, however considered.

Thanks again for your enthusiasm for the truth, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:  

Hello Bob,

How are you? I've been grieving this week the loss of my friend so suddenly but I want to be a good witness and say the right things in these circumstances as we have hope after all, the blessed hope.

With that in mind: how would you differentiate hope from faith?

I didn't go to the funeral due to restrictions. My dad went and he had to listen to the Mass (a Catholic one despite __'s dismissal of Catholicism) through outdoor speakers as the place was packed out with hundreds of others outside wanting to pay their respects. He was very, very popular. He was a passionate and tireless evangelist for Conspiracy Theory. If only people were this tireless about the Word!

I've managed to witness my faith to one of ___'s friends. He gave me the following feedback..

"Thanks you for your call today! Apart from it being the longest phone call, I must say, that I have never heard such an eloquent and intelligently stated statement of Belief, ever. Astonishing!"

So I am thrilled to hear this! All glory to God! Praise the Lord! I will pray that this witness planted a seed for ___'s friend! He has a huge network of friends so he may tell others too what I have witnessed!

In Jesus,

Response #5: 

Good for you, my friend!

That's a wonderful report – and I certainly hope this person takes the truth you shared to heart (have said a prayer to that effect).

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Or as I translate it . . .

It is faith [in the Living and written Word], moreover, that substantiates what we hope for. [Faith] provides proof of things unseen.
Hebrews 11:1

So hope and faith go hand in hand. We have faith that what we hope for is true; and our hope in turn empowers our faith.

For it is in this hope [of the resurrection of our bodies] that we have been saved. Now a hope that is visible is not [really] a hope. For why should someone wait expectantly for what his eyes can see? But we have set our hope on what cannot be seen, and so are patiently awaiting its fulfillment.
Romans 8:24-25

. . . and patiently waiting is applying our faith to our present situation, enduring and persevering through this difficult life in sure and certain hope of resurrection and reward.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Thank you so much my friend!

It's sad because I received an email from ___ this morning to invite me to a "guided visualisation meditation". It seems my hunch was right that he would be neck deep in the new age like ___ was. This validates the research that I have done that there is a direct link between Conspiracy Theory and the New Age "religion". In fact Conspiracy Theory in most cases leads to an initiation into new age/ eastern Mysticism etc. As I said before, two old friends of mine who were deep into conspiracies are now "white witches".

So Conspiracy Theory IS the devil's eschatology and the main way these days that he gets unsuspecting (and hitherto atheistic) types "into religion". Into HIS religion more specifically.

For some odd reason atheist types are drawn more to any old mumbo jumbo than the truth. As the new age religion takes belief in really bizarre things than I can only conclude that people know that Jesus and the Bible is the truth but flat out reject it just because they'd rather worship themselves which is what the New Age is mainly about (the original serpent lie of "we are god").

I have noticed that ___ who obsesses over Quantum Physics "science", whenever he talks about it, again it is IDENTICAL to all the New Age lies! Once I even said that one particular belief he had of us "giving birth to planets" or something was exactly the same as Mormonism. He didn't say anything after that.

I'm still hoping that seed I planted grows despite satanic opposition. I realise so much of this is about free will and the choice to live in darkness. Now that I have his ear, I will continue to share my testimony and what I am learning from the Bible as he does seem interested (his deceased brother was an Evangelical pastor so this may be familiar and comforting to him for this reason.)

In Jesus,

Response #6: 

You're most welcome.

I have to say I'm not surprised. So now that you know that your pearls were rejected – precisely because they WERE pearls, it'd be better not to throw any more that way unrequested.

The phenomenon you characterize so well here is not surprising either. If a person holds to the truth, then the lie will be rejected:

"And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
Genesis 3:2-3 NKJV

But once the lie is accepted in place of the truth, a substitute – a lie – is always taken on in its place.

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Genesis 3:4-6 NKJV

At this point, believing we can be "like God/gods" (same thing in the Hebrew), all prudence and common sense goes out the window, because rejecting the truth – truth given by God – is absolute arrogance: WE know better than HE does. Now it is all about us. Which makes us completely vulnerable to the most ridiculous lies.

It certainly is up to you, but pursuing those who really want no part of the truth generally ends up hurting us while not helping them. We can pray. But unless they demonstrate a genuine desire for the truth, it's usually best to move on to the next thing the Lord has for us – and He always has plenty.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Hi Bob,

Yes I completely agree and I have moved on. He was starting to bombard me with conspiracy theories by email (five every day!) I politely made it very clear that I was no longer interested in them and that my time is better served on Bible study and preparation for ministry. I also told him that Conspiracy Theory is actually part of a bigger deception from the enemy.

In closing I said that I would pray for him and his wife. I haven't heard from him since.

I have realised that, like you said, evangelism can sometimes put me in a possible dangerous position. It is not the first time that someone has tried to flatter me and made out they were interested in Christianity to "bait me".

After praying on it, Jesus is showing me the difference between someone genuinely in need and ready to hear the Word and a time waster who instead pretends to be interested.

Do you have any advice on how to stay safe and enforce good boundaries with possible deceptive or manipulative types whilst evangelising or building a ministry?

It's not the first time this has happened. I had to break fellowship with someone in my bible group as he was sending me messages constantly and at all hours. He wanted to talk about very distracting things like Hillsong music and songs he had written. I tried to keep conversation on the Word and even recommended your site a few times but he wasn't interested and instead wanted to keep me talking on irrelevancies. Once I left the Bible group (because I wasn't growing there) I had to then explain to him that I wouldn't be responding anymore as it was becoming unpleasant.

I imagine that with your ministry you have often had to deal with overly persistent (hope this one isn't me!), divisive or antagonistic types. Do you have any advice for such situations where we can stand our ground whilst given a good clear witness?

Jesus doesn't want us to be door mats for all and sundry. He said for our "yes to be yes and no be no". That sounds like clear boundaries are needed and to be stated.

Sometimes I have difficulty with this as I was brought up to be a people pleaser but now I am to be a God pleaser instead which is a big difference. After all, sometimes it "pleases the people" for us to sin like they are doing and they are "displeased" when we don't.

Any advice on this would be really appreciated my friend!

In Jesus,

Response #7: 

Good for you, my friend. I knew you would figure it out.

As to "Do you have any advice on how to stay safe and enforce good boundaries with possible deceptive or manipulative types whilst evangelising or building a ministry?", I think you are learning the ropes of this quite well. There's no magic litmus test. Some are better than others at reading people. And as we grow spiritually we all become more discerning. So as with everything else, continuation of spiritual growth on a "broad front" is the ultimate answer. No short cuts.

Every time we have one of these experiences, we can grow from it and learn from it. Like anything else in life, we get better with time and practice.

So keep on "keeping on", my friend!

You're in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Hello Bob,

Just thought I would look in on you and see how you are!

I went with my mum to visit my grandmother's and my uncles's grave today. I was shocked, if not a bit appalled at what I saw. Some graves had unopened bottles of beer on them, others had windmills, toys, shoes hanging, wind chimes, ribbons, garden decorations, solar lighting, even a 3 ft Buddha had been plonked on one of the Catholic graves. Another shocking trend is to have huge helium balloons flying above them all. I saw two exact same ones which were enormous and shaped like astronauts flying to the moon!

The culture has changed so much and so fast it beggars belief. My sister said she thought I was describing Egyptian burial sites! Indeed!

Do you think this is the paganisation of everything, or a weird materialism or about competitive grieving? I noticed that once one person put something really wild on their relative's grave then another would copy them.

It really upset my mum visiting her mother and father's plain but cared for grave. Recently people have even taken flowers from their grave to put on their own one! It's a shame as it is a very beautiful spot. Wonderful trees and an amazing outlook but now every which way you look there are party festoons strewn this way and that as though it is the carnival or the sea side!

Do you have this sort of thing in America? One grave near my grandparents had satellite navigation linked up to it so people can spot it on Google maps or something?! Why?!

Is it that whole "celebration of life" ethos or something else?
It's so strange and only started happening here in more recent times. Apparently you can even get funeral balloons now to release on the day of mourning! Stop the world I want to get off!

Hopefully no one thinks of putting some portable music player on their loved ones grave because if one person does it then everyone else will want to.
You can hardly hear yourself think there let alone pray with the amount of noise all the wind chimes make there.

You would think that people are terrified of sombreness and silence and everything has to be ra-ra-ra!

Even mourning.

In Jesus,

Response #8: 

In the states people do sometimes put up elaborate monuments, and sometimes do decorate with flowers and even balloons, but I've never seen or heard of anything along the lines of what you've related here. Then again, the last time I was in a cemetery was for my mother's burial . . . and I have no plans to visit any unless and until I'm obligated to go to another grave-side service. My parents are in heaven. I don't feel any need to visit the resting places of their earthly shells (not to mention I haven't been to Florida since the burial and have no plans to go there either).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Hello Bob,

Yes I completely agree! Only our final resting place (our eternal one) is of any consequence. Funerals and cemeteries seem to be more for the living than the dead but I was there at my mum's request (sometimes I walk around there as it is one of the closest green spaces near my parents' home.)

I was commenting on another trend that seems to have taken hold here. It seems to be similar to a lot of Eastern religions whereby they make colourful shrines for the dead, even leaving food and drink for them. It seems yet another way this country has been changed towards a more pagan outlook. It's almost as though the deceased have become an object of veneration in their own right and in misplaced grief, families are buying many gifts to adorn their loved ones graves. They even leave flowers and ornaments (even clothes) whenever a person dies by a roadside. Ironically these roadside shrines which are becoming common place here are a nuisance and a danger to drivers as they distract their attention and can lead to further accidents!

If only they would seek Jesus in their grief and He will comfort all in the truth. Again though it seems another example of anything but Jesus. I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot more of this incoming pagan culture in the years to come as we get closer to the Tribulation.

Just another reminder of how I am not of the world! These reminders are becoming daily ones now!

I am trying not to focus too much on the "devil's world". I don't like noticing things in this devil's world but I keep noticing things more and more. Is that a growing spiritual discernment or awareness of the enemy's work around me?

Anyway, I want to keep strong in my studies and look at what is lovely and also to make sure that my eye is single. I've paid a price for both neglecting my spiritual study and also for looking at the things of this world so I am keen to stay away as much as possible.

I understand more clearly that verse about there being enough evil in one day. So yes I would rather not be noticing all these things around me and yet I do. It just means I have to work extra hard to find the things that are lovely is this darkening world which is growing all the more distant from God by the hour.

In Him,

Response #9: 

You're certainly right in concluding with Solomon that there's "nothing new under the sun": pagans have being engaging in these sorts of over the top rituals on behalf of the dead since the beginning of paganism. I suppose the idea that the dead can be helped makes accepting the lie that dying in unbelief might not be so terrible. So you are correct that it all goes back the evil one's systematic perversion of the truth.

As to the world around us, we can't leave the world until the Lord wills it, and separating ourselves from it is impossible to do (as centuries worth of monasticism have proven). But while we are "in it", we are not "of it" (Jn.17:14-16). Our King is in heaven and we are awaiting His return and the commencement of His kingdom, for we are citizens of that kingdom first and foremost (Phil.3:20).

Meanwhile, it is not useless to have one ear to the ground in keeping tabs on the trends around us, even though no one righteous who lives in Sodom could fail to have their hearts vexed (2Pet.2:7-8). So attempting to escape the present world or ignore it all is really not possible (and unwise); but getting involved in it or allowing it to upset us is also a mistake. We stick to the strait and narrow way that leads to salvation, and trust in the Lord to bring us through it, one day at a time.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:  

Hi Bob,

I've signed a contract on a house -- it's getting built, and will be done in November (the weird inflated market actually makes it a decent financial move).

Work is going fine. I'm now a team lead, so basically help my program manager coordinate work for myself and 4-5 other people. I think it's actually easier than programming full time, and my time isn't any more stretched. Still very happy with my job.

We've actually talked quite a bit within our Zoom fellowship group the last couple weeks about format, and I'm going to be spinning off some video teaching of my own. We're keeping the wider meeting to having the "iron sharpening iron" experience of unbound teacher discussions, but I'll now be doing my own thing too. I'm starting with two videos of my own a week, but will probably scale up to four after a while. This will be on top of the recording of our shared group meeting, which I'll now be splitting into three every week to make it easier for normal folks to take in.

I hadn't been thinking of video so much initially, but discussions with others have made me realize there is a need. Long story short, I'm going to be focusing on short videos (~20 minutes each) that are highly organized (with definite outlines) and full timestamps so things can be linked to. This will be quite a bit different from Curt's stuff.  (link)

You can see the first week of my specific stuff here – 19 minutes long (and half that if you speed it up to 2x speed!). I'm going to be going through SR4, although with my own teaching on top of it. SR4 was one of the first Ichthys things I went through, and I've always liked it as a stepping-stone since it gets folks thinking about their spiritual priorities.

There will be seven videos a week put on the channel once I've scaled, but this still won't even be the main ministry focus. I've spent time getting the process pretty hands-off, so while it's a bit of time for me, it's honestly not that bad. The super exciting thing about these videos will be that they'll be fully timestamped by topic, and will be kept each to 20-25ish minutes = a lot more digestible for most folks. It took a lot of head-scratching to figure out how to make that feasible for everything without adding a lot of editing time on my part.

Still progressing on the website. Just recently I finally accepted that I just need to get the thing officially launched, and I'll worry about perfection later. I'm not sad I've done so much thinking about why I'm doing things this way or that way -- as now I know exactly what it is I'm doing -- but I've decided I don't necessarily have to explain to everyone else all of that -- at least not initially. That's what has been taking me so long, so with that bottleneck gone, I'm hoping we're close.

You'll definitely hear from me when everything is up.

In Him,

Response #10: 

Congrats on the house! I'm sure you'll get some kind of warranty so that's a plus too. Otherwise, moving into an older house, there are always a number of things that have to be fixed with the first year.

And congrats on the promotion! I'm pleased to hear that your management appreciates talent – always a good sign.

The new video is great! I can see this being a big hit (here). I'll be praying for you on it.

"This will be quite a bit different from Curt's stuff." (link) Indeed – and nothing wrong with that. I think this format of yours is very digestible and that is important.

On the website and "I don't necessarily have to explain to everyone else" – Amen! You're responsible to the Lord. The rest of us like hearing from you on all these matters, but there is a limited amount of time and energy . . . which you seem to be deploying in a good and godly way! Good for you!

I appreciate you taking the time, my friend. Keeping you in my prayers every day.

In Jesus our dear Savior – and Chief Shepherd.

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Hello Bob,

That post came at a most opportune time. The friend I wrote you about who is trying to keep part of the Mosaic law is in an abusive marriage. He is not fulfilling his responsibilities in the marriage. At least as far as I can understand from what she relays. Hopefully, it will help her and, if he would read it too, help him.

I never realized Peter was married! I didn't get that from the KJV and as of the last reading of NIV it didn't register, either. An incorrect familiarity can be difficult to break.

Your weekly postings have been a tremendous benefit. The questions and your answers have opened up new avenues of understanding for me. E.g., the episode of Noah's drunken stupor was something I just glossed over thinking, "Well, that happens..." (Eschatology Issues LXXIII) It never occurred to me that prior to the flood, there was no need to preserve food so there was no need for fermentation. Consequently no wine, beer, soy sauce, cheese, pickles -- or kraut! Clearly, in the antediluvian word they had no decent Reuben sandwiches.

In thinking of fermentation and preserving food, I gained a new appreciation of how the Lord has provided for us in spite of the curse laid on Adam and Eve. Yes, we now have to dress and work for it, but it's all there and provided none the less.

As a side note, where scripture and scientism agree is the "big bang" described briefly in Genesis 1:1. I never thought of that before. If the pictures from the moon and mars are real, at least mars appears to have been an habitable world. That is also described briefly in Genesis 1:2.

In any event, I just wanted to say thanks.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #11: 

Thanks for your good words!

Haven't had a good Reuben myself in quite some time!

Hope you're keeping safe and healthy out there on the prairie.

"I never realized Peter was married!" – there's also the fact that he had a mother in law (e.g., Mk.1:30).

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Dear Teacher,

Although not able to spend as much time on Ichthys as I did last year, I do unfailingly spend time with the weekly email postings. I have already done my usual initial quick read of the posted portion of this installment, and am working on the continuation; I would probably already have read all of it, but I initially overlooked the link to continue on! The Peter Series somehow seems to get more relevant with each installment - not sure if it’s due to the progression of the letter or a result of the progression of the work of the Holy Spirit within me!

God really has been so good to me, in ways far broader and grander than I feel capable of articulating. I have maintained a sort of “radio silence” lately partly for practical reasons of time constraints, as I believe I mentioned before; more importantly, though, it is because I seem to be in a listening and learning mode that simply isn’t as chatty! Last year, “let go” became almost an accidental mantra, from the time the alternative to “be still” crossed my path through all of the many echos of it as I continued my time with God in His Word. This year, “something else” isn’t becoming another accidental mantra, but I keep being struck by the apparent paradoxes and balancing acts of walking with God and how God’s ways really are Something Else! It simply calls me to keep silence before Him - and among others. (There is a particular short musical setting of Habakkuk 2:20 that that often plays in my mind these days.)

Thank you so much for the prayers! I’ll spare you all the details, but suffice it to say that God has been hard at work among us - and certainly hard at work within me, keeping me at peace (more or less!) walking with Him and doing what is before me to do without thinking too much about what is or isn’t getting through and without talking too much. I could wish for some clear transformative moment, but I am satisfied with the hopeful signs God has highlighted and at peace knowing that He is (and always has been) in control.

You are also in my prayers, as are the brothers and sisters who “meet” on Ichthys.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus,

Response #12: 

My pleasure, my friend.

Thanks for the encouraging update! I'm always impressed by your positive attitude. It's not something accidental or commonplace – or to be taken for granted.

Keeping running your good race!

Thanks for those prayers (and I promise to keep them up on this end as well).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:  

Dear Bob,

I want you to know that your email postings are the highlight of my weekend!! I start looking for them on Saturday actually. Even clicking on the old header because that used to bring up the new one sometimes. There is always a kind of spiritual letdown after I finish reading them all...almost a sadness. Maybe because our community church service is over and we have to head back home.

On a recent Saturday, when your emails weren’t available yet, I started to read your new posting Peter #35. Didn’t get very far into it when I decided that at my age and with my marriage history, this posting was a lot late to help me!! Well, “maybe if you read it...you will be able to help someone else”. Good idea! So I am in the process of reading it. Major confession: I have become a big time scoffer!! I always sort of glossed over that word before because it just didn’t pertain. Now I have to watch myself every day scoffing at TV: people, advice, doctors, politicians, scientists, commercials...all pretending that they care about me & mine. Do I really have to give up this kind of scoffing? (The answer is probably yes...just turn off the TV.)

Praying always for you and Ichthys. Really, really appreciate your praying for us too!!

Forever your student in Christ,

Response #13: 

The thing about the Bible is that it humbles us all . . . if we're willing to be humbled AND willing to listen carefully so as to be able to be humbled. Pastor-teachers just get that first and in private. When it comes to the sins of the tongue, one would have to be "perfect", according to James, in order to never err in that regard (Jas.3:2) – and none of us is that!

I appreciate you in the Lord, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Hi Dr.

I have a question sir. First, how are you doing? I pray all is well with you and your family and the ministry. I know you are preparing to go back to UofL? How is that going? Will you be doing a hybrid or all in-class session? Thanks also for the Peter Series #35. It will be a blessing when I have a chance to study it.

Quick question. A commentary I had said Adam was not saved because the bible didn't indicate his righteousness. Irrespective of the skin of coats the Lord gave him, as time worn out, it never mentioned Adam & Eve righteousness. If one was to look at Hebrews 11, the last name the Lord mentioned was Able being righteous. How significant is Hebrews as an argument against Adam & Eve being saved.

Thank you and God Bless.

Response #14: 

Thanks for your prayers, my friend. Don't know what is going to happen at U of L. After six months of planning to "return to normal", everyone is freaking out about Delta. Guess we'll have to play it by ear. Going back to masks and social distancing or even remote instruction would be a disaster [update: distances back to normal; students have to wear masks; they told us that if we hit 80% vaccination rate, no more masks; we hit 84% two weeks ago, but now they've moved the goal posts . . . somewhere; we're not being told where to; 110%?]. The plan WAS to return to complete normality in the fall. It's just a little over two weeks out now from the beginning of teaching, so leaving things to the last minute seems to be the game plan at present.

As to your question, of course Adam and Eve are saved. If only believers in the Bible described by the Bible as "righteous" were saved then only a handful would be saved. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; that is a common fallacy. And we do have evidence in the coats of skin offer which they TOOK (even if correspondent doesn't want to accept the truth; see the link).

Also, Eve later says "I have acquired a man from the LORD." (Gen.4:1). Sounds like a believer to me – what unbeliever would say something like this? Also, Adam is in the genealogy of the righteous, the genealogy of Christ (Lk.3:38). I don't know of any unbelievers on that list.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:  

Dear sir, I greatly appreciate your work and the wisdom you give others.

In this regard I am seeking an answer for a situation I am in. In the last two years God has revealed much in His word to me. At the beginning of this year I began to teach my two nephews via zoom the Word of God. I was having many doubts about my self but things were going fairly well. Then in April I was struck with a very aggressive glaucoma and I lost vision in my right eye within 6 weeks. It's extremely difficult to read now and I can't study much longer than 15 minutes because my other eye gets very tired.

I feel like this is a judgement. That God is saying "Stop!"--- For my attitude and past sins and I live in fear every day. I am asking for prayer and wisdom

Than you in advance

Response #15: 

Good to make your acquaintance.

Sometimes of course God does help us throwing obstacles in our way until we see that we are on the wrong course. But sometimes – oftentimes – our good decisions will be challenged by the evil one. God allows that so that the depth of our faith can be tested: if we are really serious about doing what He wants us to do, we will persevere.

How do we know what is God's will? We have the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit lets our consciences know what is right and what is wrong through the truth we have learned. So if we know that what we are doing is right, we persevere regardless of opposition. As we grow spiritually, it becomes ever easier to tell the difference between the two (cf. Heb.5:14).

[update: there will be a great deal about both of these topics in the upcoming Peter #36]

Sharing the truth of the Word of God can hardly be wrong! We all have things in our past that we regret, but God disciplines us at the time for what we do, and does not revisit us with these things much later on if we have truly repented and moved on long ago (see the link). Job made that same mistake of wrong thinking (what he says here we know now was not at all true as his youthful sins had nothing to do with the testing he was receiving – which testing was actually a compliment for being one of the greatest if not the greatest believer on the earth at that time):

For You write bitter things against me,
And make me inherit the iniquities of my youth.
Job 13:26 NKJV

Job found out better soon after saying this, but he should have known that this was not the reason for his suffering.  At least he had the excuse of not having the Book of Job, but today we have no excuse for blaming God when receiving "undeserved suffering" meant to help us grow, draw us closer to the Lord, and witness for Him . . . when we face troubles with joy incomprehensible to the unbelieving world (Jas.1:2-4).

I'm sorry to hear about the glaucoma. I have said a prayer for you and will post a prayer request for you as well on Ichthys.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:  

Thank you Bob! As you know though that it really is all God's doing. I'm now starting to yield to Him by the Spirit.

I'm reading at the moment about Elijah and Elisha for the first time and realising how they always consult God and trust and rely on Him. Obviously they were set apart and important anointed men of God but what underpinned their walk with God was their faith. It's all about faith in God and trusting in His promises. I loved the verses about the Shunammite and Naaman. They are such wonderful portraits of faith despite doubt or lack of understanding. It's shocking to see Israel descend into paganism all over again in both books of Kings. I realised before that the whole of the Bible in its entirety points to Jesus Christ and our need of a Saviour.

I don't fully understand the Holy Spirit's work in us yet but I have yet to read your study on this. So when it says in Hebrews that we cease from work is that because it is the Holy Spirit that actually does the spiritual work and we are the vessel for this work? I realise there is a sharp distinction between work of the flesh and the spirit. It seems that the only "work of the flesh" is to sin!

Now that I have enough experience of all the false teaching and doctrine that is out there, I am now solely studying good teaching at your site along with my Bible study and Unger commentary.

I have to thank you as you and your site have inspired me and kept me going even when I've fallen down (too many times that is comfortable!) There have been times when I have felt like Elijah and wondered where all the believers are! I'm sure you have had those moments too. I realise that there are believers around the whole of the world but we are all scattered at the moment waiting for the return of our Good Shepherd. Many however will fall for the "worthless shepherd".

Thanks again Bob for your continual ministry and friendship. I'll keep you in my daily prayers. Please keep well and in good health. Just because you have been vaccinated, please don't neglect to boost your immunity in other ways. We all want you fit and well and around us for a very good long while yet!

Just realised something that is absolutely extraordinary! You know ___'s friend who keeps emailing me about conspiracies? Well I've just realised that his name is similar to yours! He keeps sending me emails about conspiracy theories. One (you my friend) advises me to stay away from conspiracies and trust the Lord and the other one who tells me that it is all conspiracy and I should rebel!

Wow! It's like God is giving me a very definite choice here! Which do I follow? This is confirmation! I am going to delete all his emails and not read them anymore as God is making it clear its either one way or the other!

I've had so much peace since eschewing all conspiracies and I have found my joy in the Lord again ever since. I am not worried about the news anymore either as I know it all has to come to pass and the Lord will get me through so I can fall asleep at night with a smile on my face!

In Jesus,

Response #16: 

Thanks for your concern, my friend. I do try to take care of my health (as long as it doesn't involve pills and doctors). And thanks for your prayers!

Hah! I do usually sign with an "L" after my first name so you should be able to tell us apart that way too.

I'm very happy to see you digging into these studies in a serious way. It really does make a difference, that is, how much volume of truth we are pumping through our hearts daily. We can get only so much directly from the Bible – to understand what we are reading takes disciplined response to solid teaching. So keep fighting the good fight!

Keeping you in my prayers too daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:  

Great to hear it Bob!

I realised that I shouldn't use that "let go- let God" phrase as I've just heard it is new age.

I realise that I need really sound doctrine and that is why I am concentrating on yours and Bible Academy along with my own reading of the Bible. Sorry to let new age stuff creep into my own speech. What I meant to say is that I am submitting to God wholly and trusting on Him in ways that I wasn't before, I held back a bit. I realise I will learn more with your site and through testing. It's a tough time we are going through what with all the false teachings everywhere...

I think my friend in the new age had been offended by my frankness about how evil it is. I have not spared him the full truth on this. I may have lost a friend but I would rather this would lead to saving faith.

I am getting a reputation for being uncompromising on faith. Not legalistic but just not allowing any false teaching to be said around me. I have been labelled a "purist" and a "separatist". I have been called worse though!

I am feeling very happy in my walk though! I always pray for discernment and I am really happy to know that God is happy when we pray for spiritual things!

I tried to send the other emails to the Junk folder but they still get through the filters! It was a good decision to not look at his emails. His last message was described as being from a "channelled" source (demonic)!

So I was right in my suspicions that conspiracy theory always leads to the New Age/ occult! I'm so glad it didn't lead me that way! Praise the Lord!

I've always had a natural aversion to witchy and spooky things so I am so grateful for that. Some good did come out of the Catholic system. I remember that I loved to hear about Jesus in R.E. lessons so I knew that when I desperately needed God, it was Jesus that I needed to look towards!

I'm also glad of the odd conspiracy theorists out there which did put out Christian themed videos, they helped too. God can even use bad people and bad situations to bring forth good! (Joseph really understood this!)

He is incredible isn't He!

In Jesus,

Response #17: 

It's heartening to see you rejecting the bad and choosing the good, my friend!

If the only problem is dumping some infelicitous terminology, you're in very good spiritual shape!

It is amazing how junk mail always gets through – and filters manage to filter out REAL emails all the time.

And I wouldn't worry about being labelled. I find that the more believers begin to focus on the truth, the less they have to do with those who are doing the labeling. Praying for you for some friends who love the truth!

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:  

Hello Dr. Luginbill

I hope this email meets you well. I’m sooooo glad I came across your website. I stumbled on it while looking for more information on the Genesis Gap and It has been such a blessing to me so far

Some things are a confirmation to what I have known i.e the satanic rebellion and most things are very new. I’m so so glad I came across your website. I can’t say this enough.

As I have started studying the materials (there is so much to cover) I feel like a kid in a candy store; I feel so have blessed to have come across these materials. I would love to join the forum so I could interact with others studying the same thing.

God bless you

Response #18: 

Good to make your acquaintance – and thanks so much for your encouraging words!

I've sent a request to the forum moderator to send you an invite (please let me know if you haven't heard anything in a week or so).

Your enthusiasm for the truth is a blessing!

Feel free to write back any time.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:  

Hello Doctor,

Thanks for letting me know, I always appreciate it.

How are things for you in Kentucky during all this madness?

Sorry so little communication lately, I’ve lost a lot of my wordiness in the last couple years, probably due to losing all my friends and having more kids...which we’re expecting number 6 this October! Another boy, so we'll have 3 of each now which is great to balance out the emotional mix; and he’ll probably be a nice “break” from the moodiness.

I manage a tractor dealership now; been here a few months, and although supplies aren’t super abundant due to shutdown nonsense, I’m still making almost 50% more than I did at my old job and it’s way less stressful.

I’m sure Peter #35 will be close to home for me; I’ll read through it soon as I’m able.

Thanks for saying hi, I always appreciate it.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #19: 

Thanks for the update!

I am THRILLED to hear that you have landed on your feet this way! A real answer to prayer. God is good! I pray for you and your family daily.

Work is fine . . . but everyone is panicked over Delta and we may have one more go at attempting to destroy the university by going remote again. I pray not. [update: not yet and no plans we've been told of to do it – thanks for the prayers!]

I did get sufficient done on my research this summer to keep this old jalopy on the road one more year.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #20:  

Hi Bob and family,

Hope you’re doing well in the madness and perplexity of this perishing world – and from reading this week’s Q&A’s it is clear that so many are wanting something but not really knowing what they are looking for when the true answer has been here all along. When you think about it, human nature is a strange thing – there are two natures in all of us that are constantly at war with each other, i.e. our human nature and our divine nature. Which one will win . . . THE ONE YOU FEED!

So many are blind to that and most fall to the human nature, feeding that nature instead of the divine nature. But unless people read the Bible and understand what it contains, their search is in vain.

I’m thankful and so grateful that you’ve put an encouragement next to my name on the ‘special topics page’ – (anyone with questions about the “church-visible” will find this helpful), but I’ve noticed when you click on my name it takes you to the END OF DAYS article, rather than the STRAIT GATE article, which may be confusing. Is there any way that you could change it so that if anyone wanted to know about it and clicked on my name it will take them to the strait gate article? Of course, I understand that they could find it on the special topics page but people are lazy.

Again as always dear Bob,

Response #20: 

Thanks for good your comments, my friend!

I've also changed to link on the emails page. Let me know if this is not what you wanted (easy enough to amend).

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:  

You say on your website that repentance is turning from your sinful ways and towards God, and that if we truly have faith, we will have a fundamental change of mind about our sin so that it is no longer desirable, at least not nearly as much as it it used to be. If that's the case...I'm not only not saved, but probably very deep down the road of hard heartedness, maybe even the dreaded stage 3. The thing is, whenever I do something super evil, there's a bit of regret, knowing how wrong it was, but that ultimately doesn't keep me from coming back. Also, I'm guilty of pirating video games (just very old ones that are unlikely to be cared about by their companies anymore), and not giving it a second thought. You say crime is a sign of stage 3 hardness, but im not sure if it's really stealing since hardly anyone cares about them anymore, much less a big corporation which is probably not getting any sales on them anymore. Regardless, I'm scared I may be at that horrible last stage of hardness, or at least stage 2. I've never really turned from my sin.

Response #21: 

If you're doing something wrong, stop it.

If you've done something wrong, confess it.

If you want to be at peace with the Lord, pursue that peace through spiritual growth.

Question #22:  

Dear Bob,

I hope you are well. Forgive this late response. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks trying to figure out the next phase and sets of decisions in my life. You see, I had just given up the long pursuit of my architectural licence spanning 13 years, so it’s been bitter-sweet. But, with this choice, came a certain level of freedom. Regardless, I am good and well – thank our Lord. I truly hope you are too.

I’ll be honest in saying I haven’t checked the FAQ section in a while and my studies kind of halted due to the phase mentioned above. I have, however, continued fellowship with the others and Steven’s decision to finally launch his ministry, his teaching and summarized version on the Satanic Rebellion finally incentivized me to restart with SR4 as the basis and continuation of my studies.

I initially started with Part 6A, but I guess my schedule, responsibilities and admittedly distractions – all around – have prevented me from being diligent here. I could really use some prayers to build habits in this specific area – it is what matters most.

Otherwise, the FAQ section has been really helpful, especially when a question or issue related to Scripture comes to bear in my mind. I am hard pressed to go anywhere else to source for information, so thanks again for this.

Your email is timely, and though the others and I regularly talk and joke about the differences in our personalities, I am pained to some degree about losing friends – who aren’t Christians for the record – and wanting your take on things.

I personally, do not bother about personality traits as too much emphasis is placed on them in our current society, and there's an ease with which people are ascribed a label because they don’t conform or fit the appearance of a certain mould, even after years of friendship.

This being the case, I will say that the style and manner in which I communicate are all too often direct, I do my best not to be rude – this is a part of my culture after all – and I am reasonably conscious with the choice of my words when talking with people. However, this directness and the search for truth mean I typically try to stay on top of things and engage with the integrity of an argument or discussion. This, sadly, is often seen as combative, and so I find myself retreating more into my domain and only speaking when and if I absolutely need to.

To be fair, I am not burdened with the state of solitude, and have gone for weeks on end without conversation. This is because I know how to keep myself busy. However, my pain stems from knowledge of the fact that we are called to live in peace with all people to the best we can, regardless of if they are Christian or not, but also that they may see Christ through our good works. I’m beginning to think I’m not doing particularly well here, but I have made the decision (today in fact) to refrain from engaging in any kind of conversation with friends who are far more sensitive. What happens though is conversation grinds to a halt, as I have also never been one for small talk.

I do love debate, so without a shadow of doubt, I am complicit to some degree in the problem of friends leaving, I just don’t consider it to be anything of consequence given that these are friendships that have supposedly been established.

Could I be thinking too much about this situation? What do you advise? I understand friends walk in and out of our lives perfectly, and I am developed to the degree – without jumping on the wagon of hyper-individualism – where this doesn’t impact my routine significantly or causes my world to fall.

But as a Christian, I can’t help but wonder…

I look forward to your response.

Your student in the Lord,

Response #22: 

I completely agree that where personalities are concerned, "it takes all kinds". The Bible calls us to transform on the inside – but not to change who we are. If it is a question of sin, we should refrain. If it is a question of acting in love rather than stirring up contention, we should do the former not the latter. But we can't change who we are – and we shouldn't try to. The trick is not to make this an excuse for being despicable to people on the one hand, and not overreacting so as to become other people's doormats on the other.

How do we know the difference? This is one of those skills that grows with spiritual growth. As usual, it's all about spiritual growth wherein we get better and better about seeing things for what they are and thus having the capacity for making better decisions about everything:

Solid [spiritual] food is for the [spiritually] mature, those who by [diligent] practice have trained their [spiritual] perceptive faculties to [properly] distinguish between good and evil.
Hebrews 5:14

Keep running a good race, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:  

Dear Sir,

Thank you. ___ called me in the evening yesterday. It was very pleasant to hear his voice. Lots of unpleasant stuff had been happening to him including the breakdown of both his and his wife's phones at the same time. But he is holding up. It was a mutually encouraging call for us both.

I'm very happy to hear that you are doing okay. I had a feeling that the Ichthys church has been taking quite a bit of flak over the past few months. The vaccination issue particularly has been putting quite a bit of pressure on some of us judging from some conversations that I've had recently.

Personally, while I feel much more stable than I remember ever feeling, the past couple of months or so have been so crushing. I still feel a bit like a drowning man. I feel full of mistakes and missteps and bad decisions. I'm trying to rebuild discipline and handle things better, but I still have things just rot my strength sometimes. Yesterday was a pleasant turnaround when I got to some of my tasks quite well, but today I confirmed that a budding relationship with one of my new neighbors (and the one who practically welcomed me into the neighborhood) has soured. He did some work for me to set up curtains in the house and offered to do more, but I found his work quite unsatisfactory. The last time that he came to do anything, he killed some of the vegetables that we had growing in the backyard. I have a hard time believing he did it by mistake since his demeanor toward me already seemed to be changing before then. I only noticed that when I called him with my regular phone number, I wouldn't get through. But if I called him with my other line (used for my family only), I would get through to him. I thought it was a fluke of the network, but when I tried it again just about an hour ago, I proved that it was real. He must have blocked my number.

My mom is concerned about our relationship because people who have been kidnapped and robbed around these parts have suffered these things mostly through the betrayal of those close to them. And the man told me a story about another man who got robbed because he apparently insulted his neighbor who then helped the robbers get to him. He told me the story when we had just met as a way to illustrate why people should be generous to their neighbors. I don't assume that he would act the same, but I don't tend to expect good things from people. And he seems to be respected around here too.

That is just one of the things that have been sniping at my heels. Regardless of them all, God has been good to me. Things are progressing regarding the marriage, and our friends on the forum helped me buy a used fridge, used gas stove and gas bottle, a set of four used pots, an orthopaedic mattress, a small voltage regulator for the fridge, and curtains for the house. As I mentioned before, I was also able to make a bed for mom. The house is still bare of furniture, but those were critical things to have for my mom's visit. I got them at just the right time. I have also finished setting up my professional website and email with the help of our other friends.

When I think of much that my brothers and sisters in the truth are going through, I keep thinking how poorly I am helping when I don't pray daily for them or maintain a lifestyle that makes my prayers acceptable to the Lord. I know that we can always do better, but I keep thinking of how kind God has been to me . . .


I'm sorry to be dumping on you, Sir, but I really have wanted to speak to you for a long time now, but it just feels like I can't even write when I start an email to you. Io so.

Keeping you in my prayers, Sir.

Response #23: 

Sorry to hear about our friend – and also about your struggles.

Life is fight – a fight to the finish. But remember what scripture tells us:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 NIV


They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Psalm 126:5 KJV

I'm sorry to hear about your living situation. There is little worse than a bad neighbor . . . except for a dangerous neighbor. I will be keeping this in my prayers. I do hope that you can get your business moving along and have more options down the road.

I want to commend you on the long attached conversation! I know that this is exactly what our brother needed to hear – and exactly how I feel about these things as well. I will say that you've done a better job of keeping the politics of it at arms length than I have. Good for you! The conspiracy stuff is just as you say: it makes little difference. Or as I have said, it's a mistake to assume that Satan has a plan anything as perfect as the plan of God. Evil is opportunistic. God works everything out together for good.

Keeping you and your coming marriage in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:  

Hi Bob,

I think you could do with some nice new fresh air in the Humanities building! I wonder what nasties are floating about in that 1975 air. I'm even more happy that you got the shot now!

Thanks so much for all your very helpful words to me about the situation. It's taking a lot out of me just thinking about it. I won't write about it now because I know it's catch up day for you on the emails. Thanks for your prayers for me on this. Right now I feel like walking away from it completely but I'll keep seeking the Lord.

I'll be thinking about you tomorrow, Bob and praying for you. I remember that it's always tiring for you when you go back after the summer holidays. Thanks again for your prayers for me too.

All the very best for you tomorrow, Bob!

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #24: 


Yes, tomorrow is finally about to be here! I worked pretty hard at things this summer but still didn't get it all done. Part of it was the (failed) French search; part of it was the "noise" from the university which, while less than the previous summer, was still way above prior years; part of it was being slowed down by the "shot" (still sleeping a bit too much but not fighting that). And of course there is the anticipation of what this year would look like – which changed around a lot. I am happy to be getting back into things. I sure wish my students weren't going to be masked and that so many people weren't still so terrified, but it is what it is. I'm back in the classroom at a chalkboard. I'll take that!

Thanks so much for your prayers, my friend – I'm keeping you and your situation in mine as well day by day.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

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