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Mutual Encouragement in Christ VII

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Question #1:  

I will respond to the remainder of your emails later, but I will put this on my prayer list that the Lord provides relief and help for you in your work area. I understand you are a man of faith but trying times are trying times and Satan comes after even the most ardent follower of Christ. With your challenges around work, etc. it seems like your recent tests from my limited point of view are his trying to minimize your effectiveness in ministering to the Church by having extra load and stress on you. I will pray the Lord will deliver you from this and provide you with His strength to continue to minister to us as well.

You are in my prayers and hopefully the Lord will provide relief soon.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #1: 

Thanks also for your good words of wisdom, my friend. If a great believer like Job could be frustrated, if a great believer like Moses could be made irrationally angry, if a great believer like Elijah could be made to fear, then, clearly, the rest of us need to be careful about our spiritual attitudes when the pressure is on, separating what is happening "down here" from how we feel about our Lord who died for us, giving us His all – remembering at all times His complete faithfulness to us no matter what happens. Your positive witness in the face of adversity is certainly a witness to me.

Your friend in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Hi Dr.,

Sorry to hear you have to lose your colleague, but happy that you both have found peace with the situation. I do hope the Lord provides somebody to help you with the additional load left by her not being there.

No major traffic problems to report on I-75 near the Detroit area, however, my travels on that highway were significantly shorter than what you will probably be traveling.

The funeral memorial was really quite fun. One thing I can say about my family is that we do death very well. A double memorial was held for both my Grandma and Stepfather. We held it in my mothers back yard and about 50 people showed up. There were some tears ( myself included) but there was a great celebration as well. Both Grandma and My Stepfather claimed faith in our Lord, so as long as they were sincere, they're not missing anything here. All three of my step siblings spoke, one of my older brothers and myself. I wrapped it up at the end giving a clear explanation of the gospel and its availability to "whosoever will". After that we enjoyed food and fellowship, played guitars, sang songs and swam in the pool. A cousin from my stepfathers side of the family said it was one of the best parties he had ever attended (not the type of funeral he was used to).

Here's wishing you a safe trip up to the metro area and back. Have fun and enjoy the wedding. Always get seconds on cake, that's not a suggestion, it's a rule!

Thanks for everything you do!

Rev. 22:20

Response #2: 

Thanks for the update!

I'm very happy to hear this positive report, and also pleased to hear that you had a chance to put the Word out.

Would you please also say a prayer for her health [news was positive].

The last two days have been consumed by car trouble and program trouble, but by close of business tonight everything seems to be in hand for now – so thanks for you prayers! God is good! His is absolutely faithful and worthy of absolutely all our trust.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Hi Dr,

I am sorry to hear about your recent struggles with your work and car. Like always, I will definitely pray for you on these scores and I can guarantee that the Lord will work it out for your good. Keep persevering and we at Ichthys.com will do the same for you. Because of your resilient stewardship in your ministry for Christ, troubles are coming at a more rapid pace the last couple of months but I know you will endure but prayer is always needful.

Working at a university is extremely challenging not only because a dearth of believers but they do have a tendency to think mostly about finance rather than education. I will also definitely put your friend's name on the prayer list for the Lord's guidance to a transition to a different and better opportunity.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #3: 

Thanks much for your encouragement and good words, my friend, and also for your prayers for me and my colleague.

I just got back into town yesterday and have a lot of digging out to do. I will respond to your request (which I hope to get to today), and will be answering your other email as soon as I get a chance.

Keeping you in my prayers too, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for sharing your experience at the wedding with me. This sounds wonderful that you were charged with doing the blessing and with reading scriptures. If you don’t mind me asking, which chapter/verse did you choose form Song of Solomon? Of course do not feel obliged to reply should you not wish to. It is always so disappointing when believers are so apathetic to truth - but in the era of Laodicea I guess this shouldn’t necessarily surprise us.

Thank you for posting it to the special topics page - I very much appreciate your suggestion and I hope our brothers and sisters can make some use of it for their or others' edification.

Professor - I wanted to share something with you that occurred yesterday evening. I was at an annual conference for my profession (United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association). I received an award for “Emerging S&C Coach of the Year” after being nominated by my peers in the industry which was very humbling. I was half-surprised that I received this recognition given that as a believer operating in a environment akin to a den of vipers, we are under constant subtle and overt attacks. Not that I do not expect persecution from here onwards, but it also reminded me that God does indeed bless us marvelously in the midst of a perverse world. I am an unworthy servant, no doubts about that. But the impact that this could have on my future plans of potentially transitioning to self-employment (and thereby being able to become more serious in preparing for ministry), have increased dramatically as a result of this. It was also a stern reminder that if I have managed to achieve this recognition from my secular profession, how much further ahead should I be spiritually with regards to being closer to completing the race and earning eternal reward/s. It is a good reminder that we should strive not for the perishable, but for the imperishable.

On a very encouraging note, the person who presented me with the award, who is also the director of the association, may have also been a believer (to what degree of maturity I am not sure), and we shared a few encouraging words on faith. I also shared the gospel with my colleague for the first time. This has never happened before for me amongst colleagues. We got speaking about how I esteem certain things far more than my secular work (quite ironic considering that the following day I got handed the award when I had spent the previous evening explaining how my priorities have shifted to studying the Word over progressing professionally). He listened to what I had to say, and I pray that I provided an adequate witness. He did ask questions on creation which were difficult to explain to an unbeliever who has no indwelling Spirit - so even though I gave my explanation briefly on the Genesis gap, I tried to direct my efforts to the gospel of Christ. I had just listened to lesson 4 Philippians from Pastor Curtis Omo (Bible Academy) on the way up where he speaks of Paul’s relentless advancement of the gospel, and no doubts this was no coincidence. I would appreciate a prayer on his behalf for the opening of his heart to truth.

Thank you for all your prayers.

In our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

Response #4: 

First, let me offer you my hearty congratulations my friend! This is a truly wonderful thing the Lord has done for you – not to say that you haven't worked hard for it, but the Lord honors those who honor Him (1Sam.2:30), and that entails both putting Him first and "doing your job as unto the Lord".

I have attached the text I read from for the wedding. It's mostly from the NIV (some 1984; some later) but some of it I translated myself. Also, while in Detroit I actually "chopped" at least a third to a half because I felt it was a bit too long for the circumstances.

I'm thrilled to hear that you progressing so well professionally, but most of all of course spiritually. I do promise to keep your friend in my prayers – good for you! Sharing the gospel is not easy for many people; doing it in a professional setting is especially risky. A good example of how you really do put the Lord first in all things. I'm very proud of you, my friend.

I hope you are going to share this set of victories with your brother and also with our mutual friend and also with pastor Omo – I know he would love to hear this.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:  

Dear Dr. Bob,

Just thought to drop a note to say "hi", that you are always in my prayers and that I am always grateful for the encouragement and teaching your ministry is giving to countless believers.


Response #5: 

Thank you so much for the kind message, my friend!

I have been keeping you and your family in my prayers for you spiritual growth and safety (among other things).

Thanks so very much for your prayers on my behalf as well, my friend.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

I have been blessed

Professor, I just wanted to thank you for all of the sacrifices you've made over the years. Discovering your website has been an absolute blessing. I never realized how many false doctrines there are until I discovered your website. I thank you once again. If you ever need any help with your website I would honored to assist you in any capacity.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Response #6: 

Thank you!

Your good words are very much appreciated and I'll keep your offer in mind.

Thank you also for your prayers and for your own stalwart progress in the truth of the Word of God.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Hello Professor,

Understood about ISBE and I will refer to it when needed.

All the points you made are taken. There is a sense that perhaps I did let the false Roman teachings drag me a bit far, but this text is now probably about 70% finished and it is quite in-depth. This was also part of the reason I committed so much time to it - I wanted to expose the fallacies of Catholic doctrines and the ways in which they are established and do it once and for all. I wouldn't obviously waste time on writing on each of the errors or the cult of each of the so called "saints". This work is meant to highlight some universal problems of this cult.

Only thanks to help from the Lord and yourself the direction is clarifying. I can see what I can contribute and the way I could do it. I still see structuring and presenting content in a clear manner as one of my main objectives. As for going into the depth of things, I need to say, Professor, this prompts a somewhat apprehensive reflection.

[details omitted]

But there is also a second problem that I have been understanding more and more - that for all that we have available today, all the wonderful resources that make study so much easier than it was 50, 100 or 200 years ago - the level of scholarship doesn't seem to reflect that. We are clearly in a Laodicean era.

[details omitted]

Professor - apologies for a long reflection. But it has been on my mind recently. Time is getting short. The evil one is really concentrating his efforts and being very successful with the vast majority of humanity living one or another lie. Then those who do get to see the truth are lukewarm about it or allow the weeds to choke what matters most. Someone born now would have everything they could ever wish for at their disposal so as to prepare for a teaching ministry - but they may not even produce anything, because time is too short now. And God knew this in His foreknowledge and that's why that particular person occupies this spot in the history. But I will be pressing forward now. Whatever is left, is left now and has to be used.

Thank you for your guidance and friendship, Professor.

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #7: 

You have for obvious reasons a much better handle of the R.C. milieu and have already garnered some fruit in helping those entrapped. Just because it has possibly not yet been as successful as hoped in some cases (whom I continue to pray for as you've mentioned them), doesn't mean it's not an important field. I'm not sure precisely how the Lord is going to be using you but I wouldn't rule this out as an adjunct in any case. So in your case I would be loath to call all this wasted time. Paul spends a good deal of time in his epistles disabusing his fellow Jews of their mis-impressions of the Law – and that is scripture.

For what it is worth, I've always seen you as "first rank", regardless of how we want to characterize these things (I will leave all that to the Lord). You have done more with less and in less time than anyone I've ever seen. I can tell you this because you won't get a swollen head (you tend in the opposite direction).

I'm pleased to hear from this email that although you're not without regrets as the past – who is? – you are willing to move on and fight it out for the Lord day by day. That is the only way to get anywhere for Him in this world.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
2nd Corinthians 5:10-11 NIV

Even Paul was apprehensive. His application was to soldier on – and I know that is what you will continue to do as well, my friend, all the way to the end.

We will rejoice together in your reward on that day – of that I am absolutely sure.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:  


I just finished reading the dangers of the pre-trib rapture false teaching. I very much enjoyed it. I really appreciate how you respond to there questions. Your answer on Question 14 was great! You say the truth for what it is and no beating around the bush. I've watched through my years so many people argue a point but do it in a not so nice way. They use negative tactics, fear, guilt, hate, etc. to try and convince you they are right. You on the other hand are kind, caring, thoughtful and send them straight to the true word of God...and that's all you can do!

Keep up the wonderful work you do!

Your friend in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Response #8: 

Thank you!

What an encouraging message!

Thanks again – keeping you and your family in my prayers daily.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Hello Robert!

I apologize for taking so long to get back to you but I have been bombarded with appointments and medical tests. So many of the symptoms and issues I had have been healed by our Dear and merciful Lord, Savior and Healer Jesus. Thanks to all of my wonderful, loving and kind Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who have been continuously praying for my healing.

[details omitted]

I got off if the pain medicine 3 months ago and I am on a very small amount of a medicine that helped me to do so and I am weaning off of that now. I think about and pray for you and your ministry all the time and will keep in touch. How are things going with you Robert? Anything new? I hope all is well with you and your family. Are you still teaching your summer courses?

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Response #9: 

How wonderful to hear your good news, my friend! I rejoice in your healing – and promise to continue to keep you in my prayers until you are 100% back "in the pink".

We are already about two weeks into the fall semester here. It was an "interesting" spring and summer. The university is in a major fiscal crisis, and everyone is getting cut. They almost cut my Greek classes out; they did cut my pay (praise the Lord that I have gotten part of that back and am hopeful for the rest in the spring, but prayers are appreciated); they fired my friend who was a part time lecturer in Latin and my other long time good friend who actually had a contract for this next year – about three weeks before classes started. So it has been nasty. But we endeavor to persevere regardless, knowing that God has it all in hand and whatever happens, "this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1Thes.5:18). He always works it out for good . . . for those who love Him (Rom.8:28). My good friend Curt Omo of Bible Academy (whom I mention frequently on the site) lives in Houston. He and his family were forced to move from the apartment they loved about a year ago to a new place – but the old place flooded (they would have lost everything) while the new place did not. God has it all in hand for certain.

I'm continuing to pray for your spiritual growth and progress. Thanks so much for the update as I have been very concerned about you.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:  

Dear Robert,

Thank you for your quick response and your references. Your absolutely right and this confirms more of how I feel and the reason for our struggles.

We have talked about leaving. One of the reasons we moved here was for our children. We wanted to be in a place of a smaller school setting and country living. When we left Colorado when we saw things we felt were unhealthy for them and our family.

[details omitted]

Your right – it's not easy. I have said in the past we will do whatever it takes to raise these kids even if its living in a tent. I actually didn't think it would really happen. Lol ( I guess being in a truck camper is an upgrade) lol.

[details omitted]

I don't know if you heard on the news of the big fires here last year but we were in the midst of them (lost 50 homes). We were renting a home that was for sale (for two years). It sold and we had another place lined up but they called a week before we moved in and said they were giving to someone that there house burnt down. I was told to go down the big church building and get on a list of people offering to help. I was turned away because our home didn't burn. I was turned away many times from all sources. I was willing go give everything we owned to someone in need as we didn't even have a place for it but no one cared. I was heart broken. How can people put such emphasis on material possessions? None of us had a home but if your stuff didn't burn you didn't get help. Its been a year now and there are homes but no one will rent or they want more then we can afford or it doesn't feel right. I have been accused of being picky and I'll admit I'm not going where it doesn't feel right. I know in my heart the devil is trying to position us. A big beautiful mansion can be offered and we may not take it. I know that may seem a little wacky to some ( a camper over a mansion?). We are going where our heart tells us. Where we are led.

Thank you again for your writings. We both love them. I'm completely addicted that I use every spare moment reading. It feels so good to read something that flows so right.

Please do not be sad of our struggles. It's truly what God has planed.

Response #10: 

Thanks for the illuminating report. I hope that you will consider allowing me to publish it (without names or identifying features) at some time in the future. You absolutely do not need to explain why you are handling the "problem" the way you are handling it, but I appreciate that you are handling it in the way you feel is right with God's help rather in ways that other people would suggest. Good for you. Your experience also is very revealing about how hollow most organized charity seems to me to be. I have known many people who have had needs great in small in my life, some of them very pressing and profound, and have heard tell of many more like yourself through this ministry. But I can't remember a single one ever having received meaningful help from an organized "charity". I'm not saying that some of these groups don't do some good work with some of the resources they have some of the time time. But I haven't seen it in cases where I knew people could use help. Said Christians have gotten help – from the Lord (often through the good graces of other individual Christians lending them a hand). It's a good demonstration of the fact that what the world thinks of as "good" is often anything but . . . in truth. It's ironic, but telling, that these charitable activities have actually put you and yours in a worse situation. Not too hard to guess who is behind that sort of an approach.

I'm very happy to hear that the Lord has blessed you with a wonderful family, and protecting them through the actions you have taken is certainly the top priority. I know you won't regret that in the least in years to come, even if it has occasioned some temporary "challenges" in your lives. These things will pass. The Lord never lets us down. But compromising the truth and doing things we know are wrong or questionable out of fear for the future will always result in regrets down the road. I pray for the Lord to grant you both wisdom and relief, the right sort of relief and the wisdom and spiritual discernment to see it clearly, not missing something from Him and not compromising for something that is not from Him.

Thank you for your good words and good heart in the Lord!

Your fellow Christian warrior in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Hello Rob,

You're more than welcome to use our story. When you decide to I have many more situations that I can tell you (its way to much to write...maybe a phone call or a personal visit will have to take place). We have moved our camper 7 times now and every time we have had to move it was because of being told to move in a nice way (a lie) so that Christian (helping us) can look good in the eyes of others that look at them as perfect amazing Christians. We never left a place on bad terms. Although this last move we left on our own.

You're absolutely right. The Lord never let's us down. I'm so thankful for the challenges we have been through. We were saying we wouldn't have ever seen what we have if it hadn't been for these experiences. I just pray I have the strength to keep going. I have my days of tears. Recently it was suggested that Satan was using my caring ways against me. I was having a really hard time. All I wanted to do was take care of my family and do for others and our situation was making it hard and in some ways impossible. I finally realized God knows my heart and he knows this is difficult but that its OK if I can't do these things now. I'm to please Him right now.

When we lived in Colorado I worked as a realtor for 5 years. I realized I didn't like that line of work (I was around a lot of dishonest people...realtors). So I quit.

When we moved to Idaho we moved in with my family temporarily. We had some horrible things happen and we had to move out immediately. It was around that time my health changed for the better...it was almost over night. People (and family) noticed and asked what did I do? I hadn't done anything. I came to the conclusion Jesus healed me. I truly do believe it. It couldn't have been anything but Jesus. I only tell people when I'm asked. It's interesting that when I say Jesus healed me that the response is always silence. Sometimes I have been asked twice from the same people. I thank Him everyday. I know I wouldn't of been able to go through what we have if I had still been sick. The Lord never lets us down and he does know best!

Thanks for your friendship Rob.

Your fellow Christian Warrior in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Response #11: 

Thanks for your encouraging testimony, and also for your permission. I usually run at least a year behind in posting things (depending on the week's topic), and I always do my best to take out identifying information. It'll be interesting to see/hear what's going on with you and your family a year from now [they have since moved into a real house]! I'm sure it'll be a testimony of deliverance and of God's sufficiency throughout. Of course, we never even know what will happen today – and are told not to worry about tomorrow. As I often say, the one day at a time approach is Bible-recommended and works the best for keeping close to the Lord. The only yesterday that matters is the day He rescued us from death by dying for our sins; the only tomorrow that matters is the one when He comes for us; and today is a day to live for Him, one day closer to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Your friend in Jesus Christ, the One who heals us (Ex.15:26; Ps.103:3).

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Dear Rob,

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. You are very talented in saying things in such a humble and good way. I have noticed in your question and answer section that your answers to others are amazing. You don't carry pride in your answers and your knowledge. This is extremely hard to find in these days. My husband is the same way. I have learned so much from him. As I read your lessons I have found that he has much of the same understanding. He is also really enjoying your material. There are times as he is reading he will blurt out and say in enthusiasm...I have said this! It feels great to know someone that has the truth in common.

I don't have a ton of knowledge of the Bible as I haven't read much until the last 2 years. Although I'm learning fast. When I was a kid I was told to read the book of Mormon. When I did I always got a knot in my stomach and couldn't find an understanding. I remember crying in frustration thinking I was stupid. I was told I wasn't feeling the spirit. I did grow up in a family of 7 children myself being second and the oldest girl. My parents were anti-school. My father (anti-government and school) was always saying we didn't need education. None of us graduated from high school. I did go get my GED and had our first child a year later. I spent the next many years at home raising our beautiful children. Finally, I decided to become a realtor. That was a challenge. I had to learn some big vocabulary and how to study as I hadn't learned to do these things in my younger years. I don't know what I would have done without my husband's loving help and patience. He has always made me feel like I was worth something and he always supported me in anything I wanted pursue. It was completely different from where I was raised. I came from a family where the men would dominate over women. They would basically tell the women what they could or couldn't say, what they could or couldn't think. In a nut shell how they had to live their lives. I didn't take well to that. My side of the family has been my biggest challenge in the last 20 years. My parents, 2 brothers and 1 sister live in the same area. We don't socialize with them anymore. When we see them in town we always are kind and say hi. With them on the other hand you don't know what your going to get. We just don't respond to any of the negativity and try to show them good the best we know how. Maybe someday they will search for the Truth. I'm praying. My husband's family is also a knot of problems. [details omitted] They were definitely one of the reasons we needed to leave Colorado. We felt their influence was not healthy for more than one reason. [details omitted]

My family does the same things. [details omitted]. In the many years we have been married we have carried our own finances with no help on either side. Our siblings have received all the parent help. We find it interesting when help was need on the other side, we provided it, and now we are here in this situation nothing comes our way. Its been really hard for me. I just have to keep reminding myself its Gods plan. Why is it so hard? I talk to Him everyday asking for more strength and as I go through the day with struggles I tend to think of how cold and hateful these people are. Why don't they love our God? Only if they did. It makes me cry.

Thanks for your time and good thoughts Rob. Its been nice to talk to someone.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Response #12: 

Thanks for encouraging words, my friend! I would likewise wish to encourage you and your family. In my experience and observation, the Lord is always faithful. Indeed, being the perfect, loving God that He is, He cannot be otherwise. Sometimes, instead of keeping us from the test, He does bring us "through fire and water" – but He does bring us through. Our part is to keep faith with Him and remember that it's not about what we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or feel with our emotions – it's what we know is the truth through faith that counts. Tests such as this are very valuable in building up our faith and in strengthening it . . . if we respond in the correct was as you are clearly doing. When we look back on these times later on, we always can draw strength from the absolute conviction that it was the Lord who brought us through, and nothing else. We know that we have been delivered from condemnation through the blood of Christ, and we know that in the not too distant future we will find ourselves safely in the presence of the Lord in perfect bliss. So we know that He has already brought us across the raging sea. When a believer finds him/herself on the bank with an entire army pursuing, however, it's sometimes hard to remember this, and sometimes difficult to concentrate on the truth that the parting of the sea, our safe transit to the other side, and the complete destruction of all the evil forces pursuing us have already been irrevocably written into the plan of God. As human beings, it's sometimes hard not to focus on the problem right in front of us and lose focus on the divine victory just over the horizon – which in our heart of hearts we know with absolute certainty of faith is only a matter of time. But it is precisely this waiting, this holding on in faith until God does deliver us, that builds up our faith. Exercise, especially intensive exercise, can be quite painful, but it pays wonderful physical dividends. This sort of spiritual testing is also not without stress and pain while it is going on, but produces all the more joy on the other side of the uncrossable sea – once God has brought us safely across. We know He will, by faith (Heb.11:1ff.). For the believer in Jesus Christ, the coming of all good things is only a matter of time.

And [so] let us not grow weary of doing the good [work of God: growth, progress, production], for at [the appointed] time we will reap [our reward], provided that we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:  

Good afternoon Bob,

It certainly does confirm what we see in the bible about polygamy. It confirms more and more the problems my family member has. Unfortunately he will tell you its because he is living the truth and that Satan is trying to pull him away from God because he is doing what is right and is a chosen one. We haven't ever got into conversation with him or our family much over polygamy; we just hear him talk to others. When he called me to tell me he was getting married to his second wife and invited us to the wedding it was a difficult time. I really do think he thought we would jump on the band wagon. We try to be kind to everyone and not be judgmental. We kind of just go with the flow for the most part. But this we felt was against our beliefs and we definitely didn't want our children to think in any way it was a good thing. We couldn't support it. I told him that day he called we wouldn't be coming. He was very upset with me and at that point called me all kinds of names. I thought at that time if he was such a "God's elect" like he claimed he was he wouldn't be so hateful and would have respected our decision. I knew then in my heart it wasn't of any good. It took a few years for him to come around and speak to us. My family hates how they can't control me. They are always trying to get me to go their way and to accept their beliefs. They know how much I love family and all the nieces and nephews. They always try to use it against me to reel me in. That day he called me (many years ago now) was the beginning of my separation from my family. I'm not mad or angry for the mean rotten things they have done to my family and me in the past. I forgive them. I just have to stand for good. I realize when I do God always comes through. I think it has to do with the (Mormon) religion in that when they do something evil they expect forgiveness and it gives them permission to do evil again. It never ends. There is never true repentance. I have seen it in many Mormon families.
What I find interesting is when we moved here three years ago the secretary of the ward of the Mormon church ( behind our backs) contacted my family to transfer our church records from Colorado. Most of them knew from my family we had a fallen out with them and had moved out of there home.

I had intentions of taking us out of the church but it can be a difficult process so I used a work around. We did get a few emails trying to get us to come back but at least we didn't have any physical contact with anyone or anyone we knew. My family and all the Mormons in this community haven't mentioned anything to us about removing ourselves from the religion. We can just tell they know by their actions.

We are so thankful for the things God has shown us. We are strong and we are going to get through this.

I do have a question. Can you send me something on prayer? I have been struggling with understanding some things. When I was younger I had some experiences that made me feel as I needed to only pray alone. I speak to God everyday and sometimes every hour all day. I have been criticized because I don't like to pray aloud with others. I do love listening to others pray.

This last year we have had people knowing of our situation and very capable in helping us. But all they do is say "I'll pray for you". It makes my stomach turn. It's like standing in front of a starving person with a bag of food in your hands and telling them you wish them the best and you will pray for them – now go on your way. I really don't like it. It makes me cry. It's like they want to push all responsibility onto God. I know you have mentioned in your emails that you have put us on your prayer request and you are also praying. For the first time I haven't felt my stomach turn. Thank you for your kind thoughts!

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Response #13: 

Thanks much for your message. You have certainly been through a lot. For all cults and all people with cult-like attitudes (whether or not they are actually in a cult) control is always at the heart of everything they do. Free will is the whole reason we are here in this world, both before and after salvation – to make choices for (or against) the Lord; so the devil's first objective is to take away that free will from as many people as he can. God protects free will jealously, but He doesn't prevent people from giving it up themselves; that is where cults (and groups of people, often sadly including families) come in. Here are some links on this:

Ignorance of the Bible = Recipe for a Cult (in "Read your Bible")

Witnessing: Cults and Christianity I

Witnessing: Cults and Christianity II

Cults and Christianity V

Finding a Church - or something better II

Third Party Testimony

Third Party Testimony II

Third Party Testimony III

Three False Doctrines (in Pet. #27)

As far as prayer is concerned, it is mostly an individual thing – in the Bible and in proper Christian practice. I know what you are saying about the "pit of the stomach" test, and quite frankly I often have gotten that sick feeling in group prayer situations too. There is a big temptation to play to the crowd when praying in a group – that is what the Pharisees deliberately did; it's harder to focus on praying for prayer's sake in a good and godly way without theatrics when others are listening (though it can be done and occasionally is). One other thing that also bugs me is when people use "I'll pray for you" as a throw away line. For one thing, I try never to say this unless I am absolutely committed to doing it. If I don't think it's likely that for whatever reason I'll be able to keep it up long term, I'll tell someone that I'll "say a prayer" for them (usually after already having done so). If I don't feel like it's something I can pray for, I'll keep my mouth shut. And just as James reproaches the person who says " 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed' but does nothing about their physical needs" (Jas.2:16 NIV), that is often what "I'll pray for you" amounts to with many who say it. Those of us absent disposable resources have less to worry about in terms of divine displeasure on that score, but it's still something to keep firmly in mind. Here are some links on prayer that may be helpful:

Prayer Questions

Prayer Questions II

Prayer and our Walk with Jesus.

Prayer: the Persistence, Purpose and Power of.

The Lord's Prayer.

Always good to hear from you, my friend. I am praying for you and your family's deliverance.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

I recently came upon your work on the internet. Wow, it looks so good. I recently started a study on angels you produced. It is so accurate (in my humble opinion) and biblically sound. Also, I love your approach and Christian attitude concerning how others may use your lessons. You are generous and kind. I will only use your material as a teacher with proper citation though to your work. I hope to spend time with you in study in the days and months ahead. Sincerely, By His Grace,

Response #14: 

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

Please feel to drop by any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:  

Hi Bob,

What do you do when you disclose your deepest, darkest secrets and shames and someone decides to exploit that moment when you’re most vulnerable and most weak in order to destroy you? How does one’s soul recover from such an attack?


Response #15: 

I'm certainly sorry to hear this. People are, sad to say, people (Eccl.7:28; Jn.2:25).

Best advice: consider the source of the trauma, and consign such a one to be as a heathen or tax collector:

"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."
Matthew 18:15-17 NKJV

God is the God of all comfort and He can soothe the deepest wounds, if we but trust in Him.

Praying for your comfort and help in "moving on" in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #16:  

Hola Bob,

Thank you for your kind words. It has never taken me so long to reply in acknowledgment of an email. I don't know what has happened to me. Not ungratefulness for such inspiring and comforting message, I guess it was the storm I have been weathering in my life, and shame. Ashamed for being selfish, thinking of myself as I wallowed in self pity. But you words pulled me from the depths of despair, always keeping the prize in sight. I am not the only one going through tribulations and endless attacks of the enemy, so taking your time from others who needed your comfort more was truly a low point for me. I have had invasions of toads, snakes, fires, hurricanes, electrical blow ups in the house, more litigation, attacks from the minions of hell engaged in child prostitution, drugs, political corruption you name it. They come to ME, not vice versa. I didn't realize I was so resilient, how much I can handle with Jesus’s help! I am so much stronger, that new tactics of survival are springing up, new doors are opening as if by magic of people who can help me at a certain junction, scales are falling off my eyes to see people in the right context of who they truly are, unexpected favors from others I would have never thought possible, in short, it is like God’s hand is leading me. My prayer life has solidified, a first in my life, I'm disciplined now. I am starting to dream. I've never dreamt, at least I could never recall about what. I am separating the Word, if this makes any sense, and battling demonic hostility fearlessly, confronting people I can see what is behind their poisonous treachery. It's a lie I am becoming more aware of what is happening around me…

Strange these changes. Supernatural I think so.

I'm tired, I get depressed at times, but I feel ready for battle.

Response #16: 

It's good to hear from you, my friend! However, I'm sorry to hear that you have been beset by the "ten plagues" of Exodus – yikes! Of course we know that all turned out fine for those who were on the Lord's side.

I'm very happy to hear that you are doing well spiritually – that makes my day! I have been keeping you in prayer daily for your spiritual growth and victory; also for your deliverance. God is capable of bringing us through absolutely anything, and it sounds as if you have experienced this first hand. I'm hoping that now you will get a little bit of a reprieve. I'll certainly continue praying for you, my friend.

Keeping fighting the good fight for Jesus Christ through His precious Word.

Your friend in Him,

Bob L.

Question #17:  

Hi Bob,

I have a shameful confession to admit, and that is that the teachings of a non-Christian religion are helping me get through grief better than Biblical verses are.

There are only two verses in the entire Bible that comes to mind on the topic of grief:

1. “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

This verse is only good if the person who has died is “for sure” a believer, which unfortunately is doubtful sometimes. Thankfully, I have been blessed by God to not have to deal with the death of a hardened atheist (David Hume’s final words with Christian biographer James Boswell, which is very well-publicized and something I recommend everyone read once in their life, or Francis Collins’s last moments with Christopher Hitchens, come to mind), but still…there are cases whether a “joyous resurrection” is somewhat doubtful.

2. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15)

This verse is assuring in that grief is a typical part of life and thus cannot be rejected as sinful. I can also put “Jesus wept” in this category as well.

There are other verses in the Bible which appear to be advice about grief, but upon reading the context are actually not.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
(Matthew 5:4)

This verse is not refer to mourning over death but rather over sin, so there is no relevance to death.

“You are the children of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
(Deuteronomy 14:1-2)

Again, this is a historical prohibition preventing the Israelites from practicing pagan religion and given not to provoke the Lord to anger.

There is one verse, however, that I am not sure if it has to do with grief or not, and that’s Nehemiah 8:10

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”
(Nehemiah 8:10)

The immediate context doesn’t help determine what prompted the person to make this advice, holy as it was. Could you help disambiguate it for me?

Now here is the advice from a Buddhist I found which is very helpful to me. Granted, the person appears to be more of a “Herman Hesse”/Schopenhauer-style Buddhist than an actual oriental Buddhist, so perhaps there are subconscious Christian influences in its teaching. I’ll let you decide whether they are helpful or harmful.

* * *

1. Stop relying on “if/then” theories of happiness. If I get to see X again then I’ll be happy. No you won’t. If you get to see X again you will have changed certain qualities of your life, but by itself that cannot bring happiness. Stop imagining that if you see yourself together with X in heaven in green meadows or idyllic vineyards that you’ll be happy, because that’s a lie. You will just be a situation where you are together with X in heaven in a green meadow or an idyllic vineyard. That won’t effect happiness, however. When you find yourself in “if-then thinking,” bring your focus back to the present and be thankful for the blessings of life at this very moment.

2. Eliminate your belief on how things should be. From childhood, we have preconceived notions of “universal laws” regarding how life should be, and when those laws are violated by tragedy or failures, we scream “injustice!” But there is no injustice. How things should be are exactly what has actualized into being.

3. There is no such thing as a wound you cannot heal from. Do you remember how you felt when you were twelve and your first boy/girlfriend broke your heart? It felt like a wound that would never heal! But it did. These are all of your human griefs amount to in the larger context, namely, middle-school drama. It is not worthy of such an insult to the human soul to presuppose that your wound is beyond healing.

Response #17: 

Interesting. Let me make a few points:

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
Acts 16:31

This is only one verse, and actually not even an entire verse, and yet it gives more true comfort and encouragement than all the writings of all the religions of the world from the dawn to time to the end of it. Why? Because: 1) it is true – whereas the writings of religions are not; and 2) it gives God's promise of eternal life and escape from death and condemnation. No other religion can do that. Any religion which promises deliverance from death and from God's judgment is lying the devil's own lie, because Jesus Christ is the only Way, "the truth and the life". False comfort is terrible. For to believe a hope that is really only a myth applicable "in this life only", would, as Paul remarks at 1Cor.15:19), make such as believed it, "of all people most to be pitied". However, I do not pity those who willfully believe lies. They have made their choice. Marx famously called religion the "opiate of the people"; that is true of the false comfort of religion (not of Christianity – NOT a religion but a relationship with Jesus Christ – which offers the only true hope). Religion blinds the eyes to the realities of sin, death and judgment and offers one fantasy or another as comfort – but these are (in the case of religion) purely lies. Only faith in Jesus Christ results in the conquest of sin and death.

1) "bring your focus back to the present and be thankful for the blessings of life at this very moment": I don't see how that is helpful . . . without relating those blessings to the One who is truly responsible for them. If we are only "thankful" for being warm and fed and housed as a means to block out the terrible things we have suffering, are suffering and are going to suffer, we are "most to be pitied". What this suggests is merely a way to turn ourselves off to experience. Not particularly helpful when we as Christians know very well that trouble and grief are often God's way of breaking through to the unbeliever who otherwise might not be reached (i.e., if always happy and never troubled).

It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 NASB

2) "Eliminate your belief on how things should be": More anesthetization of oneself to reality. But seeing injustice is a means of realizing that we want justice and begs the question of some-One who can provide it – which God can and does and will. We do know, as Christians, that the Lord will render justice and judgment to all in this world and also at the last judgment – and it's so much better to find ourselves before the judgment seat of Christ than His Great White Throne.

3) "There is no such thing as a wound you cannot heal from": It's a nice sentiment, but in my experience, observation and knowledge of history, it's not true. Without the Holy Spirit, without the truth, without the godly perspective of the Bible and the virtues that believers learn to deploy, forgiving and forgetting are rare in the human race – and even rarer than they appear (for the natural mind sometimes feigns this posture for political reasons). Only God can "heal our diseases" and also our heartaches. This sentiment probably seems more likely to be true to believers because we have experienced this . . . but only through the ministrations of the Lord.

I have known deep and bitter grief too. It is hard, sometimes, to get over and through. But without the Lord, without the truth, without the Spirit, we have no idea of the depths of such things. It is hard enough with the resources He provides – but it is possible. With God, all things are possible. Without Him, nothing is possible that is really worthwhile.

What's the difference? Night and day; truth and lie; life and death. Pretty big differences, if you ask me.

It does take faith. It does take patience. We do have to believe that the Lord is and will comfort us. But if we are willing to deploy a mustard seed grain of faith we can do so – and He is completely faithful and worthy of absolutely all of our faith. We know in our heart of hearts that there will be "no more tears" in the New Jerusalem, that He will wipe them all away. Our part is to hang in there now while we still are capable feeling the pain and experiencing the trouble, confident that He can and will get us through, and that on the other side it will all be worth it. And it will! Especially considering the alternative.

Your friend in Jesus Christ the Lord who gave us the Comforter to see us through all such things.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #18:  

Hi Bob,

This is a very good email and in fact is exactly what I needed to read. One of the other reasons why I am having such a bad time is because the responses from other Christians have been worse advice than if they had just stayed silent. For instance, here is what William Lane Craig has to say about why those in Heaven will be happy despite having familiar people in Hell:

It is possible that the very experience itself of being in the immediate presence of Christ (cf. the beatific vision) will simply drive from the minds of His redeemed any awareness of the lost in hell. So overwhelming will be His presence and the love and joy which it inspires that the knowledge of the damned will be banished from the consciousness of God's people. In such a case, the redeemed would still have such knowledge, but they would never be conscious of it and so never pained by it.

I feel like the answer of God to Job, which is that there is no human-comprehensible answer to why I brought pain onto you, would be a more satisfactory one than Dr. Craig’s quoted answer. It is only slightly better than Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar’s answer that God did this to punish Job.

Response #18: 

As the days go by, my friend, you will be more and more the one giving the answers – for the comfort and edification of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Your friend in Him,

Question #19:  

Watching GameDay this AM from UL. Where's Bob? Always on site reading your emails, your work is printed for frequent study and there is always prayer and love for you in Christ Jesus our Lord, my brother.

Response #19: 

Thanks for your encouraging words, my friend!

I stay away from campus on Saturday – that's when I post the weekly email response and catch up on of life's other necessary duties.

I guess they lost anyway.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:  

Hi Dr.,

How are you Sir? I do hope things are well as can be expected in this fallen world we inhabit. As for me life has been interesting to say the least, nothing major really, just the same old things wrapped in different packages. As you well know our adversary never lets up on attacks and temptations, some are blatant and quite obvious, while others are very subtle and require a great deal of discernment. I’ve found myself the victim of a variety of both recently and I thank the Lord for the victories He has granted. However, I’m not letting my guard down, we never know what is coming next.

I have the audio files for CT-5 ready for you. I do hope other’s are finding these helpful, personally, I find them invaluable. With reading, editing and listening I’m on my fourth go round with these lessons and I learn something new every time. The beauty of modern technology is that I can keep the entire Bible as well as all the lessons at Ichthys on my smart phone and listen to them wherever I go, making the most of my time. I strongly believe nothing is more important than mastering our understanding of Scripture and God’s plan for His creation and our individual lives. I constantly find myself amazed by the complexity, and, at the same time, the simplicity that accurate teaching of Scripture provides. Many are fearful of the way history is progressing, but for those of us who maintain our faith in Jesus Christ there is absolutely nothing to fear. The worst the world can do to us is nothing compared to what He has done for us. Soon we will be with Him in His kingdom, ending in the eternal state, and nothing could be better than that! I have a beautiful wrought iron clock that hangs on the wall of my dining room, the mechanism has been broken for some time and I couldn’t find one that fits to replace it. I keep it on the wall as a reminder that time is short, moving the hands one minute closer to midnight every year. It would sound strange to most so I don’t share it, but I think you understand, I’m looking forward to getting this life, in this world, over with. Not that I’m suicidal or anything crazy, just that I know that there is something much better than this. I just pray that I finish well and accomplish all that He has for me to do.

Keeping you and all the friends of Ichthys in prayer. Please keep me in prayer. Thanks for your ministry, it means more than you’ll ever know this side of eternity. All the best!


Response #20: 

I'm sorry to hear that you are getting bombarded (it happens). But I am very gratified to hear of your stalwart response to it all. That is a great encouragement to me. When we see other believers under fire not only "taking it" but smiling through it, it lets us know that things are not really as bad as all that in our case either, that we can get through it (whatever "it" is), and that God is faithful. I have been keeping you and your family in my prayers daily. Some "incoming" here too with my job and I am having some problems with this achy hip/back, but all things considered I have to say that God is absolutely good and completely faithful. Thanks for your prayers! And thanks for the latest installment. I am certain that many folks are being blessed by your efforts. It's the nature of the times and the internet . . . and people . . . that the person who expresses thanks is a rarity. But I can tell from the greater traffic at the site that these files have made a big difference. It really is a different world we are living in. The phone is now a conduit to all manner of terrible things – but good things too, so we are grateful for it all.

Thanks for your terrific testimony too, my friend. I find that extremely encouraging and gratifying as well. Keep fighting the good fight, my friend! The truth really is more valuable than anything else in this world – it gives our faith the power it needs to overcome it.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our Savior soon to return,

Bob L.

Question #21:  

Hello Brother Bob! It's been too long I would say. You are always on my mind and I really appreciate your encouragement and guidance that I've received from you. You often pop up in my mind when I'm going through heavy times and needing someone to talk to. I won't rewind back on the challenges I've had and still having today, but I just wanted to ask you for your prayers. My business is doing pretty good, but it definitely has it's challenges.

I was just in my kitchen, and I broke out in tears. Even now I do so. I have not lived my life accordingly, and it pains me. I know better, but I haven't able to do better. The cares of this world have brought me down. Not out of Christ, but of the renewing of my mind. I'm so ashamed and embarrass to say I pray but not like I should or like I used to, I don't study the word at all because my excuse is I'm to tired/busy, my eyes are heavy, don't have the proper focus etc.

But I know better! I've taught and encouraged others what to do and now I find myself not obeying what I've taught in the past. I feel so stuck and defeated. I almost can't explain it. But this I know, I haven't lost the faith. I know God is my father and Jesus is my Savior. I know I'm saved, but I'm at low point in my life and with my strength.

I just can't explain the stuck position I'm in and it's tearing me apart. I observe and listen well. I know the wisdom you use is to make me dig for myself and to always rely on God and his word for direction and you're absolutely correct about that. We don't have all the answer, only what God gives us to give. But if I can ask you for a favor (understanding that I know there's no blueprint to everything), what would you instruct a person like me to do on a daily basis to build his spiritual strength up systematical if that's possible.

Is there anything you would advise me to read first, that would help me out in my condition first? I know this may weak of me to ask, but I feel like I need this direction for a jump start, and I promise I will make every effort I can starting the moment you respond to do what I believe God will tell you to speak, Again, I've picked up on the carefulness of your response because you don't want men leaning on you which I completely understand, but please know this, I won't. I know where my help come from, but God uses seasoned knowledgeable men to help young men (somewhat young) like my self.

I really appreciate you my friend and I pray all is well with you and yours.

God bless,

Your friend

Response #21: 

Good to hear from you, my friend! I'm very glad to hear that your business is going well. I have been praying for that – and also for you to be able to strike a good balance between the necessity of earning a living and the opportunity of spiritual growth, progress and production.

As to your request, I will make a few observations only since I know that you already know everything you need to know about this. In my observation and experience, people who value the truth above all else always find a way to honor it. Your love for the truth is obvious, and the fact that you are having trouble finding the right balance merely means that you are having "teething problems" working out how to balance things in this new situation in which you find yourself (there is nothing unusual about that). I am confident that you will find a way to do so. To be successful in doing so, two strategies come to mind which I always recommend.

First, it's always better to do something than it is to set a standard so high you can't keep it up, get frustrated, and end up doing nothing. This is a very common trap, and I imagine all believers fall into it from time to time. But remember, something is always better than nothing. Two hours of reading our Bible is better than five minutes, but five minutes is better than zero minutes, and if zero is the result of frustration from not being able to do two hours then the two hour "standard" is only hindering growth, not contributing to it. Life is tough. Business is tough. There is limited time and limited energy. Every day is a fight. To be successful, we have to recognize the struggle, the nature of the struggle, the nature of the enemy, and commit ourselves to fighting the fight regardless of "how well" we think we are doing at it. Because if we get depressed because we feel we are not doing well enough and stop fighting, where is the profit in that? But that is how people are built for sure – I have seen it a million times. So first, keep doing something every day. The most important three things are of course Bible reading, Bible study, and prayer.

If your prayer list is too long to get through, then make a shorter one; if your Bible reading plan never gets done because it's too ambitious for your new circumstances, then revise it to something you can get to and through; if it is too difficult to study on your own, then read / listen to someone else' work (there are audio files now at Ichthys thanks to Chris B., and I also recommend listening to pastor Omo's materials at Bible Academy). I am confident that you can come up with a very do-able plan to get something every day. Once you have built that base at a modest level, if there is energy, opportunity and motivation to do more, you can add more. But I need to stress that consistency is the key. Running a Marathon once a year will not cover more distance than running a half a mile a day – not even close. So run the half mile every day, and don't beat yourself up because at the moment you don't have the time, the energy or the opportunity to run a Marathon every day.

Secondly, finding a good time to get these things done and trying to protect that time is also very valuable. Getting up three hours early is impossible for most mere mortals; getting up ten minutes early is something most of us could handle even if it is hard. The special time does not have to be first thing; it can be mid-day or later at night; I suppose it could even "float" like a lunch hour (or half hour). But consistency is the key to getting things done and also to feeling good about it – feeling good because we are doing what we are called to do and doing so by carrying out what we have purposed to do.

But by all means 1) do not let yourself feel guilty about the past – you are addressing it now, and the only possible good any sort of guilt feelings can do they have already done in helping you get cracking, and 2) please avoid the deadly trap of not allowing yourself to be satisfied by a level of effort you can actually put our consistently. Start with the consistency – and take pains to feel good about it – then perhaps you can build more time on that important base later on. The worst possible situation is the one you find yourself in – a very common one as I have mentioned – of setting up a falsely high standard which is in effect impossible given what you are facing, getting frustrated at not meeting it (because you can't) and then doing nothing as a result. The Christian life after salvation is never "all or nothing"; we are on a deadly battlefield engaged in mortal combat and combat is always messy, confusing, draining and imperfect. The best we can do is to fight the fight every day "as long as it is called 'Today'", doing so the best we can, putting in a consistent level of effort, one we can sustain, then building on that as God has given us opportunity to do so. To use an analogy, it would be silly to say, "because I cannot give a million dollars I will not give anything at all"; as in giving money, so in giving time and energy, "God loves a cheerful giver" – and it is impossible to be cheerful about it if the level of our giving is killing us and impossible to sustain.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.
*[please pray for our friend's healing – it is a pressing need as of posting 5/12/18]

Question #22:  

Brother Bob,

Thank you so much for your encouraging words and wisdom. It is spot on and on point. I really needed that. I promise I will take heed to the words you've spoken to me and I will update you with my report. God knows how much I appreciate you and I want you to know that I truly do. I prayed that I would find a person such as yourself and he led me to you know doubt. I promise you I fit that description above, but I'm going to take these baby steps like my mom said I should do and basically you are saying the same thing, until I can build myself back up in Jesus name. I know He's not through with me yet as far as ministry and I'm not worried about the crowd or many people at all, I just want to get back to work for Him. I have a few people always asking about my ministry and my workers as well. The opportunity is growing, but I had lost my confidence to act on it and even now I know I need to build up before I ready to take that step again and start back up my ministry. But please continue to pray for me and the ministry that I fulfill the call God has on my life.

May God bless you real good my friend.

Response #22: 

That's very encouraging to hear, my friend!

I am confident that you will work through this. When things are fluid like this, it takes an awful lot sometimes to get it figured out and worked in, so hang in there.

I'll be keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:  


Have not been in touch for a while, been trying to work full-time and keep my head above water despite some health challenges but of course, I should not be out of contact with a friend for so long, I apologize for that. My stepmother was admitted to the hospital 3 weeks ago after a fall at home, she developed sepsis and was airlifted to a trauma center. Since then she improved until last night when she went into cardiac arrest, took 5 minutes to get her going again. I believe she is an atheist and her problems are likely attributed to a life long battle with alcoholism, she could use prayers as she won't likely leave the hospital with all or faculties or even alive.

I hope things are well with you, not sure if you're still with the university, I hope so as I know you enjoy your position. I will be visiting your page tonight, haven't seen it for a while so I'm not sure if you've added.

In Jesus Christ

Response #23: 

It's good to hear from you, my friend, though I am sorry to hear of your step-mother's condition (physical and spiritual). I have indeed been keeping you (and your family, her included) in my daily prayers and will continue to do so. I certainly hope that she will come to the Lord and/or be granted a bit more time to do so. My mother was saved, but in terms of her physical condition, we had many close calls over about two decades when I thought we were going to lose her (she made it to 96 and passed away just last January).

There has, actually, been a good deal added to the site since last we spoke. One of the most exciting things is a growing body of MP3 files for many of the major postings (courtesy of Chris B.), and of course the weekly postings have continued every Saturday with only exceptional misses (for weddings and funerals, e.g.). I hope to have another installment of Basics out this year (BB 6A) – BB 5 and BB 2B are relatively new, I think since last we chatted, as well as a couple more installments in the Peter series.

In any case, I hope your job is going well. I have been praying for that and also for your health and full recovery.

Things have been quite challenging at the University. My job is not in jeopardy (I don't think – [although the legislature later passed a "fire at will, tenure or not" provision recently]), but pay is an issue (I've had the fall "cut" restored and I'm hoping to have the same thing happen for the spring). I lost my 19 year colleague to the budget axe this fall, a wonderful Christian woman (without tenure). And because of terrible shortfalls and other things it's been quite a struggle. But we are hanging on and hanging in. God is good – and all-sufficient for every need. Health-wise it's also been a very "busy" couple of years, but at present I'm in "pretty good shape for the shape I'm in".

Thanks for your prayers!

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:  


Truly sorry to hear about the passing of your mother, I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner but I've been tied up and haven't logged into my email much. I imagine your mother lived into her 80's or 90's, my mom turns 78 next month and is also saved but losing her would be very painful.

I think I've mentioned this before but I've always felt teachers (as a whole) are not paid enough for what they do. It does make me wonder with what they charge for college these days where all the money goes, apparently not to the teachers/professors who are the backbone of the university. At any rate, it's not something I can speak intelligently about, only wish you and your colleges the very best and pray that things improve, very sorry to hear about your friend. Also pray that your health improves, it's very difficult to focus on other things when you're having those kind of issues, something I do understand. The older I get the more I look forward to the day when we won't have to rely on our body anymore, when we are with God for eternity.

My stepmother passed away the morning after I wrote this, she was taken off life support and stopped breathing about 8 hours later, I believe she died peacefully. I find it difficult to wrap my head around a loved one who may well not have gone to Heaven but it's clearly something I have no control over, just have to leave it with God. There is also a serious rift between my younger sister, who is my stepmom's and dad's daughter and myself. Looking at things a bit differently in my own life, trying to rid myself of things that are worldly and things that God makes it very clear that he does not approve of. For Christians, it's not difficult to know what those things are, it's much harder to rid yourself of vices/habits. Took down my Google profile and all the music went with it, I still listen to old jazz for relaxation, trying to get away from music that's clearly demonic, so much of it is. At any rate, now that I have some time will be visiting your page and checking things out, I'm sure the new material is excellent!

In Jesus Christ,
p.s. Sorry, did not catch that your mom lived to be 96 initially, don't have my cheaters or glasses.

Response #24: 

No worries, my friend. Awfully good of you to email me immediately under the circumstances. I was praying for your step-mother to have sufficient time to come to the Lord. I would take her peaceful exit as a good sign. We never know about anyone else for certain. Even though there may be some 99% cases both ways, in a lot of instances it seems to be a coin flip. I think that sense of uncertainty is exaggerated in the case of those whom we love who are not gung-ho for the truth the same way we are . . . which results in us worrying about them. But God is merciful, and I know that in all such cases there have been no stones left un-turned by Him – not any that would make any difference in any case.

Thanks also for your good words. U of L is a state school, and state schools have suffered more. In the first place, salaries are traditionally lower in many state systems (certainly in KY); and in the second place state budget crises have caused cuts for years and years. We've been cut twelve years in a row to the point that we are, virtually and literally, a state school now almost not supported by the state at all. And in KY, Arts and Sciences are little valued, but that too is a nation-wide trend. So I am actually quite grateful to the Lord that in one of the most poorly funded state systems and one of the worst funded of the schools in that system in an area which is not longer valued in general and a specific discipline that most people feel is obsolete I still have a job and enough to have a roof over my head. God is good!

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, my friend.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:  

We lost another member of the family yesterday, this time on my mom's side, my cousin who I believe was only 55 died of a massive heart attack late last night. He had been complaining of what he called heartburn earlier in the day, not sure what happened after that. He was able to get a call to 911 but was gone by the time they arrived. It's so sad, I have lots of cousins, he was the only one I ever really connected with. He was born again but I fear he may have been doing a lot of drinking with his new fiancé, not sure if there was anything else he was doing. I will miss him and of course, I'm in my late 40's myself so it makes me think of my own mortality, a bit selfish on my part but I want to make some serious changes with God's help. First and foremost I need to start taking better care of myself, exercise more, lose weight etc...I also take medication for sleep and I need to find a way to get off that, only God has the power to help me with these issues.

I suspect that arts and sciences were valued more in the 1960's and 70's? When I look back, the 20th century, at least my part of it seems like a golden era now, so many things have changed for the worse since then. It doesn't surprise me that your position is seen as obsolete by the masses, although any clear-thinking Christian knows otherwise. The only thing I ever really did well at in school would be considered arts and sciences, English, psychology, geography. I would greatly enjoy taking one of your courses! Having been a resident of Kentucky for many years, what you're saying does make sense and I'm truly sorry things are that way.

Was also very upset to hear about the shooting in Vegas, seems odd that a 64 year old man would/could do something like that. Then you wonder could he have even been that accurate at that range. Some veterans I know say no, he couldn't have been. I've never fired anything more than a shotgun at a target, never been near any military grade weapons so I have no idea. I guess I don't even need to mention that the world is waxing worse and worse, it's just another example of how accurate the Bible really is regarding prophecy.

In Jesus Christ

Response #25: 

I'm sorry to hear about your loss, my friend. You have had a rough time of it lately. I think "too soon" deaths are always more traumatic. I mourned my mother, but 96 made it not unexpected (and in her last few months she was not herself). I lost a good friend in her early thirties in grad school and that had a profound effect on me. But she was a believer and that certainly helped to ease the blow . . . over time.

We certainly should be prudent with what God has given us, our bodies included. But we also have to guard against being too meticulous about things. It's not as if giving up ice cream (e.g.) is going to keep us here five minutes longer than the Lord wants us here, nor will having too much for supper cause us to depart five minutes early. But if we are good about keeping up with our health in a reasonable way (no one can be perfect about this because, for one thing, no one really knows the absolute best course on such things beyond the obvious which you address) can help us to feel better and be more efficient in doing the Lord's work.

I try not to get upset about cultural decline or growing lack of appreciation with things that are actually very important; I try to be grateful for the students and the level of enthusiasm I do have (even if the administration et al. doesn't appreciate it).

This incident is indeed a sign of the times. Perhaps even more so the alacrity with which we "move on" to the next thing. I actually think it was God's intervention and blessing that far more were not killed. No one can miss a target that big – it's like shooting into the ocean, and how can you miss the ocean? I would have guessed, based on what I know about these weapons and the circumstances, that hundreds more would have been killed at least with thousands wounded.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend. Keep on growing spiritually and fighting the good fight.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:  

Good morning Bob and family,

A lovely surprise to learn of Ichthys' 20 years – a wonderful achievement in itself and you can certainly be justly proud.

My continued prayer for you is that our dear Father will keep you and preserve you many days yet and also that ichthys will continue to have free course in the world – even through the darkness soon to come. Sadly so many will be caught unawares when these days arrive (thinking of those caught in the flood in Noah’s day) with nowhere to run. I will never stop praying both today and tomorrow that more will find it and I ask these things in Jesus’ name and for His sake.

Again dear Bob, I thank you for all that you’ve already taught me and please, continue to teach me.

With brotherly love,

Response #26: 

Thanks so much for your kind note, my friend!

I appreciate it.

I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers daily especially for the salvation of those who need it (thanks also so much for yours).

My plan is to keep fighting and plugging away right until the end – at least until I hear "flee Babylon!".

But if the Spirit directs otherwise, it's so very nice to know I have a good friend "down under".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:  

Greetings Professor,

It’s been a while since I last emailed you, however you have been in my prayers and thoughts. I hope all is well my friend.

20 years of ministry, what an achievement and how truly blessed you are. Your work is continuously helping me to understand The Word and grow spiritually day by day. I am blessed to have so many resources and help from friends who contribute to my spiritual maturity.

Everything is well over here, I’ve just spent 3 weeks working in a medical centre (on a military establishment) for an acquaint. I’m now waiting for a Medics course start date which hopefully will be before the first half of next year.

Take care my friend and I look forward to hearing from you.

In our Lord, Jesus Christ,

Response #27: 

Great to hear from you, my friend, and thanks so much for the kind felicitations!

I'm excited to hear that the med-course is working out. Excellent training, and perhaps a toehold into a future career?

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend – I keep you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:  

Dear Brother Bob,

I congratulate and thank you for your faithful labor in the Lord's vineyard, on the occasion of Ichthys' twentieth year!

As intimated in one of my first emails (about four or five years ago), it was while I was prayerfully studying the Peter Series in Ichthys that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Thereafter, Ichthys has been my church in my pursuit of spiritual growth, learning through your writings about the Truth contained in the Word of God and also the questions and answers in the weekly email postings.

Thank you also for keeping me in the prayer list. I believe in my heart that your prayers and that of our brethren are what keep me afloat in my continuing spiritual struggle.

May the Lord God continue to bless, protect and prosper you, Ichthys and your loved ones.

Yours in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,

Response #28: 

Always wonderful to hear from you, my friend! I am in the process of a computer migration (the old one is getting a bit senile and was making life/work somewhat difficult so when I bumped into a great offer, I decided it was time to make the change), and so I can't be certain if I've retained all of the old mail (this is a vexing problem which I'm in the process of trying to solve), but as far as I can tell at present the oldest email I have from you is from mid-August 2012 – so it has been a while!

You are always quick to respond to those rare occasions when I can get around to mailing readers about new developments. I generally send them out "one at a time" so with the rather long list I have it's always an on-going work in progress. I always appreciate your kind and encouraging words! They mean a lot to me.

I do keep you in my prayers, doing battle with you and for you in your spiritual struggles. Whatever we have to deal with in this life, it is all very much worth it – since everything here is temporary no matter how good or no matter how bad, but all we have coming by way of reward is better than the best of this world and lasts forever.

God knows very well our every need and challenge and heartache, and He always provides. He is absolutely faithful; we are given these challenges to learn that ever more deeply so that our trust in Him and His deliverance will grow from a mere mustard seed to a gigantic tree. That's what results in the crowns of eternal reward.

Best wishes for a good holiday season ahead, and thanks also so very much for your prayers.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:  

Thank you, Dr. Luginbill - for your faithfulness and commitment to God, the Word, your gifts, call, and to each of us. You bless us!

Response #29: 

I'm very pleased to hear from you! Thanks so much for you very kind and encouraging words. They are deeply appreciated.

How are things? Have you been able to make the move to Colorado yet?

I keep you and your children in my prayers daily.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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