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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Prayer for the New Year



Father in Heaven, bless us in the year ahead. Bless our friends, relatives, acquaintances, and our enemies. Assist the poor and the sick. Grant peace to this nation and to all peoples. Make us desire the things that please Thee. May all our actions be inspired by Thy Holy Spirit and carried out by Thy assistance, so that all our labors and prayers, having begun in Thee, may likewise be brought to fulfillment through Thee. We ask this in the Holy Name of Jesus. Amen.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Four: Principles of Endurance


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.


Book Four of Growth of a Faithful - “Principles of Endurance”

The endurance level of discipleship emphasizes overcoming temptation and distractions in order to be equipped for significant service. First Corinthians 9:24-25 says, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”

Inevitably any growth in preparation for Christian service is tested by opposition from the flesh within (Gal. 6:9), and from conflicts from without and/or from worldly solicitation (Mat. 13:22). The deep reflection on God’s Word empowers the ability to endure and be victorious in spiritual warfare. Encounters with sin, the world system, and the Devil (Eph. 6:10– 20), force a deep dependence on Christ maturing and developing the disciple into a useful conduit in God’s kingdom and a harvester of souls outside of it. The purpose of Book Four, “Principles of Endurance,” is to help the disciple plumb the depths of his resources and the richness of the indwelling Christ (John 15:1-15; Eph 3:16–21).

Each level in “Principles of Endurance” enables the individual to stand firm when tests come, so that they will be confirmed and strengthened with maturation that comes only under fire. (James 1:2–4). Each reflects the cyclic characteristic of growth that is inherent in all of life. By cyclic growth means repeated application as life develops from one stage to another. For example, a baby first needs protection from forces outside himself that could destroy him. Included in this is a proper and constructive education. Without enduring practical and spiritual education, the influences of the world system will supply be destructive orientations and life style habits. Then, he needs that principle of protection as an adolescent from temptations coming from emerging desires. There can be further application to every new stage of development of life such as employment, marriage, parenthood, and spiritual life.

Therefore, endurance is to development what the contentment level is to the acceptance level. In development, the new direction of learning and training for spiritual service is accepted, but in the endurance level, these principles must be incorporated into a functioning degree of confident life style of overcoming obstacles faced in the midst spiritual service. (Eph. 4:11–16).

This fourth study booklet as well as all the others in the Growth of a Faithful series may be purchased singly for $2.50 or in packages of five for $10.00 by sending a money order or check to the following address: 

Edward Lundwall
P.O. Box 735
Rossville, GA 20741


Other Publications by Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

The Breath of God: Why study Greek?
The Disciple's Cross: Progressively exchanging life
How to Build a Disciple Making Church
Book 1: Growth of a Faithful (Acceptance of Foundational Precepts)
Book 2: Growth of a Faithful (Principles of Contentment)
Book 3: Growth of a Faithful (Principles of Development)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to Adam's Race!





                
 Hypostasis

With his infant hands,
          All stars are held in place.
The brightest one stands
          To shine upon the face
Of Him who expands
          And orders all matter, space.
So emptied---into finite man,
          Here born, lays Eternal Grace.
Bound now within time’s span;
          His flesh-clad feet will trace
An ancient redemptive plan
          To re-create Adam’s race---   
With His Infinite Hands
.
            Hope Ellen Rapson
             Christmas 2007

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Continuing Fellowship with God


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.


Psalm 15: Continuing Fellowship with God 

Theme Verse: “O LORD, Who shall sojourn in your test?
….In whose eyes a vile person is despised…who honors those that fear the LORD.
He that swears to his own hurt, and does not change (Verse 1, 4)”


O Father, I praise and thank you for your Word and how it so simply expresses profound truth. Father, I thank you for the key to understanding spiritual things---meditation, thinking upon your Word until you open our understanding so we know how to apply its lessons ( Psalm 1). The Lord Jesus required it of the multitudes as they listened to His parables. For me, to be right with you and have fellowship with You, I must absorb your character. This can only happen as I meditate upon Your Word to learn of your character as I fellowship with you in the Spirit. For Your Word everywhere teaches that what we meditate upon and who we harmonize our thoughts with will indeed shape our character.

Father, you teach me in this Psalm that the reality of my fellowship with you will continue as long as your Word and Spirit control my character. Spending time with you, I will begin to reflect you. As I begin to mirror you, my relationships with others will show your love. As the Apostle writes, if I really know you as love, I will love others also (John 1). If I am overcome by your righteousness, I will develop righteous relationships with others.

O Father, I thank and praise you for this certainty you care and desire an interactive relationship, true fellowship, with me. Empower me to bring every thought into obedience to what you are as expressed in Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5). O how great life can be as I abide in you by expressing your reality in righteousness, love, and grace to others. May I always make sure that your hand is upon mine as I touch other peoples' lives for Jesus sake!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book 3 in "Growth of a Faithful" Series


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.


Growth of a Faithful, Book Three – “Principles of Development”

In the development of their spiritual lives far too many people desire only to grow to what we have called the “Acceptance” and “Contentment” levels. This applies, not only to Christians and workers, but to many churches and theologies. Far too often of the view of being Christians is for the benefit of the individual, not for God. The Devil accuses Job of having this as his motivation for being godly:

“Then Satan answered the LORD, and said,”’ Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 1:9–11) 

God purposes that churches be communities of disciples who have denied self centeredness to follow Christ (Acts 9:26; 11:26; 14:211–23; Luke 9:23, 24). Indeed, the greatness of Job’s godliness is clearly seen when contrasted with our times where the church not only fails in times of testing, but is “lukewarm” in the midst of prosperity (Rev. 3:14–22). 

The New Testament Christians’ purpose is “…to the praise of His glory”(Eph. 1:6, 11, 14). God receives glory as we, Christ’s disciples, function as branches of redemption (John 15:8), by being His instruments to “…make known…the manifold wisdom of God…to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10). Indeed, when a Christian or Church does not manifest godliness and a Christ-centeredness, it becomes doubtful that they have really received “…The grace that bringeth salvation…..” (Titus 2:11–14).

Book 3, “Principles of Development” focuses on a Christ centered and Christ serving way of life to help the disciple center on God’s interests and program as the reason for spiritual growth (Rom.12:1, 2; 4:1, 11–16; Heb. 12:1–4). “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.”(2 Cor. 5:15)

This third study booklet as well as all the others in the Growth of a Faithful series may be purchased singly for $2.50 or in packages of five for $10.00 by sending a money order or check to the following address:

Edward Lundwall 
P.O. Box 735 
Rossville, GA 20741



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Remembering We are Sinners


Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Psalm 14 

Remembering we are Sinners 


Theme Verse: “’The fool has said in his heart, ‘"There is no God."’ 
They are corrupt; they have done abominable works; 
They’re none who does good…“(Verse 14) 


Dear Father, how easy it is to forget that, in ourselves, in our flesh, we are but sinners. In the busy activity of doing spiritual and orthodox religious things, we too often become self righteous and condemning. We forget that we were and still are sinners in our natural lives. We ignore that what righteousness we have is a gift from you through faith in the Person and work of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ alone. We avoid focusing on the fact that we stand as righteous before you only through faith in Him. Please, stop us, Lord. Help us to continue to experience righteousness in our conduct by faith's dependence upon Your Spirit's work in us and not by our own strength, or good intentions.

Father, I thank you for the places in Your Word that remind me all men are sinners. Help me to remember my spiritual frame of reference…that you alone are the Righteous Judge. Even though the punishment of my sins is forever past as your child, yet if I neglect to remind myself daily to walk in the Spirit by faith, my flesh can deceive me into being just like the fool that lives as if you do not exist and others are not important. This happens when I say of my occasional sins, "The Lord didn't see it!" Open my heart to receive your chastening either in my spirit or in the reproofs of life from you loving hand, and thus renew my faith walk with you.

Help me to remember, that I am like an unsaved sinner when I do not periodically throughout the day, seek your fellowship, or when I do not seek to see the why of my disappointments by searching Your Word through study, meditation, and prayer. Help me thereby to understand your frame of reference in every circumstance, rejoicing in your salvation and the hope of future blessings you have promised.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:2


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Facets of Christian Married Love


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

The Many Facets of Christian Married Love
Part II


As Christ came into the world as an expression of the Father's love toward mankind and obedience to the Father's will, so must marriage be an expression of accepting God's love and guidance. In John 3:16, God the father's love was intelligent. For without Christ paying for man’s sin and reconciling the believer from his sin, nothing else would have a lasting benefit or quality of life, so marital love must be both informed and intelligent. These are essential.

Many modern marriages have been entered into, because it has been the culturally accepted thing to do. When the motivations are simply to experience mutual admiration, to have companionship, and to fulfill sexual desires, marriages fail because of the lack faith in and obedience to the God who designed marriage. The Scriptures speak that the wicked are those which do not have God as an ever present reality to them (Psalms 10:4; 89:14). Therefore non-Christian marriages, which have no defense against worldly solicitations, fleshly impulses and satanic deceptions, are defenseless against corrosion of personal relationships, marriage failure, and disappointments in child development. However, it must be said that Christian marriages are not just between Christians, but between Christians who orient their marriages according to the directions of the Lord (Eph. 5:22–32). This is why so many “Christian marriages” fail.

Traditional Christian marriage usually begins with a child's observation of Christian parents. However, these parents must exhibit a devoted love for the person of their Savior and a faithful practice of the principles of marriage as found in the Scripture. Children need to have seen their father as the leader of the home in the likeness of Christ to the Church. They also need to have seen their mother love, respect and honor their father as a servant-leader in the day to day management of the family’s life together. This requires both parents being competent in the knowledge and practice of the Scripture, committed to the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of the family coupled with the desire to have loving relationships on a day to day basis. From this example, a child sees marriage and family as a healthy, secure and loving relationship. If this is the case, he or she will develop into having an attraction towards the opposite sex with the wholesome conception of a full relationship being played out in married life, not in irresponsible, uncommitted moral impurity. Essentially, the groundwork of life-lasting Christian marriages is to have had role models that instill the values and commitments that reproduce them within the children observing them.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Book 2 in "Growth of a Faithful Series"


A Booklet Series on Building Faith and Spiritual Life

By Chaplain Edward Lundwall, US Army, Ret.



Growth of a Faithful Series - Book Two: “Principles of Contentment”


In the Scripture, there are many allusions to levels of growth. In spiritual life these levels of maturing often are described in terms seen in physical, intellectual, social, and emotional life. These references are identified and interspersed throughout the New Testament.

The approaches and methods of ministry are given in terms of the spiritual conditions and maturity of people. One of the best known is the set of instructions to Peter as a type of spiritual teacher by the Lord Jesus after His resurrection. They can only adequately be understood from the original Greek text of the Gospel of John. He said:

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15– 17)

At this time Peter, who was usually self confident and idealistic, had a humble spirit because of his failure to remain faithful during the Lord’s trial. This becomes apparent from the Greek word used for his responses to the Lord’s first two questions: “…lovest thou me…” The Lord’s question used the Greek word for the highest kind of love. It is the love that God expressed when He gave Jesus to be our Savior (John 3:16). This word not only speaks of the passion that gives the best, but love that is intelligent, in that it meets the appropriate need. Peter always humbly replied: “I love you” using the lower level word that speaks of human emotion on a familiar level that can be thoughtless. Further, it can be weak and inadequate to meet needs and to be consistent.

The Lord used the high level of love in regard to feeding the very immature lamb like believers. This should challenge the spiritual caretaker to the greatest amount of patience. Therefore, he should give easily understood teaching and exhortation. The Lord used this same word for the next level which can be identified as a teen age stage. They have more confidence in themselves and quick understanding, but with excessive energy, they rush into what they don’t adequately understand. This becomes apparent from the Greek word translated in the KJV as “feed.” The Greek word here is for shepherding. The love must be high, but it must be the “tough love” of caring that shepherds use in guiding and protecting sheep. They must use the rod and staff of guidance and protection.

This level of the “Growth of a Faithful,” described as “Principles of Contentment,” deals with the spiritual growth area that is between that of baby lambs and teenage sheep. It is designed for those disciples that have accepted the basic principles of faith, both for salvation and for foundations of spiritual life, but need to deepen their commitment to follow the Shepherd, their Savior and their Master. As has been seen in efforts of mass evangelism, if “follow up” teaching and shepherding are not done, few continue even to attend Church.

While foundations for faith and life must be taught, these beginners need care until they become confident and content with what they have embraced. This was the purpose of the Apostle Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 15:36, 41). They had done this before (Acts 14:22) and is the thrust of the Epistles. They were simply practicing the Lord Jesus’ exhortation and demand to experience a stabilizing relationship with Himself (John 8:31–36; Romans 8:1–9). This is the goal of instruction in the “Principles of Contentment.”


Related reading: Book One: Introduction

This second study booklet in the series Growth of a Faithful may be purchased singly for $2.50 or in packages of five for $10.00 by sending a money order or check donation to:

Edward Lundwall
P.O. Box 735
RossvilleGA 20741


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Psalm 13: Triumph in Difficult Circumstances


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.


Psalm 13: Faith's Triumph in Difficult Circumstances 

Theme Verses:  
"How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? Forever? 
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. " (Verse 1, 5)


How would I learn to trust you, if the desire for victory, comfort, and pleasantness were always satisfied? Therefore, I thank you for the difficult circumstances which trouble my soul. In these times, I learn there is a difference between what can be seen and what cannot be seen, between principle and application, and between faith and experiences.

These are the times my enemies assail me, where they would deprive me of what makes my life worth living. While David had his life and the lives of those near him in danger from physical enemies, I have spiritual enemies of temptations of evil thoughts (2 Cor. 10:4, 5) against what gives my life meaning. For me, the full foundation of life is to know what you are calling me to do and finding fulfillment in its accomplishment.

While enemies from the spiritual world cause me continual frustration, especially as I try to discharge my ministry, yet, I have a greater enemy. By overcoming this enemy, the Lord Jesus said a man is greater than a general who would take a city. That enemy is my flesh, the old me, the self-centered, self-satisfying, self-confidant, and self-reliant life dwelling within me.

The Apostle Paul described the old man as the sin dwelling within. It is the nature I was born with. Before I was born again, all my life was only the flesh. Now subtle warfare goes on continually between that old life and the new Christ life. So often the old life defeats my best efforts to do right and to not do wrong (Rom. 7:17, 18).

I praise you for the enablement you have given in a measure of fruitfulness. I desperately want the fullness of my hope and vision to find fulfillment. How greatly I want to find the consistency of overcoming those things eroding my discipline and the urgencies that derail my concentration. These upset the priorities necessary to fulfill my stewardship.

I must remember real accomplishment comes as I can distinguish between what you call me to do and the subtle religiousness of the flesh. Help me to remember my faith reliance upon you in Christ. Herein springs the vitality of my spiritual life! I find this to be true whether I stand before you or myself. Then, I will be able to concentrate upon living a balanced life. Then, life is a blessing and not a burden. Then, I can rest when my being needs rest and recreation. For You have said ou give the godly sleep and you care for us even while we sleep (Psalms 4:8; 127:1, 2).

O Father, I thank you for promising to will settle me and establish me by your enabling grace, for your mercies have kept me from perishing from Satan's assaults and my failures. Further, Father, you have been so patient with me and in mercy have not destroyed me because of my failures. As I think about your salvation, and the grace flowing from the Cross making it possible, I again rejoice in the faith you went to so much pain to begin; you will continue in me until I see You (Phil. 1:6). For you have exhorted me to see myself united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, even from the day of my baptism (Rom. 6:1-5, 10-13; Eph. 1:15-23).

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good 
to those who love God, 
to those who are called according to [His] purpose… 
predestined [to become] conformed to the image of His Son…” 

Romans 8:28-29 (NASB)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Booklet Series


Growth of a Faithful

A Booklet Series on Building Faith and Spiritual Life

By Chaplain Edward Lundwall, US Navy, Ret.


Introduction: The Purpose of the Growth of a Faithful Series

In addition to learning spiritual principles and precepts, these booklets designed to aid in learning the books of the Bible, learn to analyze Bible texts, disciplining thought processes by writing out answers, develop skills, confidence in sharing, thinking with others to find a consensus of understanding, communicate in love, avoid the habit of hasty and over generalizing in thinking and communicating. These benefits can better be used a disciples fellowship group (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 14:29-33), because their benefits are seldom learned by lecture.

Spiritual life, as all life, has design for growth from one level to another climaxing in becoming reproductive. One purpose of the church and disciple-making is to so edify its members so that they grow continuously from being babes that need spiritual milk feedings to being meat-eating, reproducing leaders. The Scripture teaches that each level of growth has its special needs and limitations. Spiritual teachers must learn to identify on what level of spiritual growth level those to whom they minister have attained in order to teach principles and precepts that are needed at that level (John 21:15-17; Heb. 5:12-14).

The Growth of a Faithful study booklets are designed to meet the needs of seven levels of spiritual growth. The first three categories are intake areas of spiritual life---the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship. The second three subject precepts develop through expression---ministry, character, and faith. The last principle of development is learning through edifying authority (Heb. 13:7, 17). The one great need to mature from one level to another is an open teachable attitude coupled with an earnest desire to live as Christ’s committed disciple.

The first study booklet addresses the needs of foundational precepts. These precepts must be comprehended and accepted to begin to live as a Christian, to grow to be faithful, and to be accepted as Christ’s “disciples in deed” (Matt 25:21; John 8:31). The study series is adopted from 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”


Book One – Acceptance of Foundational Precepts
Introductory Summary

This study book has following seven foundational teachings for the new believer:

1. The first study endeavors to build understandings and convictions about God’s Word. They give the basis of certainty for spiritual life, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2).

2. The second study addresses the foundations for prayer. Learning to pray brings the individual into personal fellowship with God. Learning how to approach God must be on the basis that God provides.“…Lord, teach us to pray …” (Luke 11:1).

3. The third study speaks about the basis of fellowship with God and others. “…that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3)

4. The fourth study deals with principles of growth through an attitude of ministry. “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

5. The fifth lesson speaks about principles of growing by exercise of character development. “For whosoever will save his (soul) life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his (soul) life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:24)

6. The sixth lesson lays foundations for the exercise of faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).

7. The seventh lesson orients the student to God’s provision for spiritual shepherds (pastor), “who will naturally care for your state” (Philippians 2:20).

This first study booklet in the series Growth of a Faithful may be purchased singly for $2.50 or in packages of five for $10.00 by sending a money order or check donation to:

Edward Lundwall
P.O. Box 735
Rossville, GA 20741


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christian Marriage


Edward F. Lundwall Jr

The Many Facets of Christian Marriage (Part I)


God’s ordination

The first facet of Christian marriage appears in Genesis 1 and 2 as an established relationship ordained of God. The record testifies that God made Adam in His image. He made Adam’s body first and God breathed into him making him a living soul. Because Adam was made in God’s image, His soul became his personality, having intellect (the ability to identify, categorize, and synthesize information), emotions (the ability to feel what was in his intellect) and volition (the ability to choose and energize what he learned). 

 Origin and nature of spiritual life

The word breath in Hebrew is also used for “spirit.” God breath in Adam’s body thereby created both his soul and spirit. Adam was made in the image of God as a trinity in that he had three distinguishable parts having separate functions yet being a single person. As God is a sovereign being, choosing what He will, so human beings in the image of God were made to be a sovereign under sovereigns. As such, God’s design was for human beings to be in harmony with Him and His purposes thorough faith that perceives who and what He is. This perspective leads to the fellowship of obedience inspired by that faith. Genesis records that God walked or fellowshipped with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening. 


The Spirit of Love 

One of the emotional orientations of vital fellowship with God is that of love: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) This kind of person just loves everyone, even his enemies and has compassion on even God’s enemies (Romans 9:1–3; 10:1–4, 21). Some call this the greatest love as it is unconditionally offered (Acts 14:17). However, the greatest love is consummative, that is, to know the Lord as one’s spiritual husband (Ephesians 5:22–32; John 17:3). This love begins when one receives Christ by faith in God’s promises and righteousness. This consummative love is no longer one–sided as love unconditionally offered, but functions as dynamic living interrelationship. 
 

Experiencing Consummative Love 

The Lord Jesus enlightens everyone (John 1:9), but only those who believe and receive Him as He is can experience God’s consummative love. Only to them is the promise: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). But love in attitude is insufficient to find fullness, fulfillment comes only in the loving experience where faith inspires obedience: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21) As David said: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Human courtship loves through letters, but, oh, how much greater marriage with its the honeymoon and the enjoyment of loving obedient children! The honeymoon of conversion must continue in an abiding in Christ to give the fulfilling fruit of spiritual children that in turn give spiritual grandchildren (Galatians 4:27; Matthew 28:16, 19, 20). This is the blessedness of marriages that have the Lord as their most prominent member. This marriage has purpose, endurance and blessedness. They consider themselves as being just junior partners under the loving sovereignty of God.


What next? 

This series of posts will discuss the many facets of marital love in the context of this scriptural portrayal of marital love. It will picture the relationship between Christ and the Church in the lives of the husband and wife as seen in Ephesians 5:22– 32.