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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Praying Psalm 21

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Psalm 21 

A Psalm of Worship And Thanksgiving As Typical Of Godly Authorities 

Theme Verse: “The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; 
and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!" (Ps. 21:1)

O LORD, I do praise you! I rejoice with King David. Your workings for him, through him and in him are worthy of praise. He had a basic heart of trust in you, and refused to resort to his own means. You twice gave King Saul, David’s great enemy, into David’s hands. While David could have killed him, yet he did not, but humbled himself under your mighty hand by showing godly mercy and respect for the person in the position of your authority. Rather, David deliberately put his future into your hands by refusing to use his own means.

I greatly desire many I know to see respect for those you anoint. I will yet humble myself under your mighty hand, as I do now. By faith, I claim your mercy (verse 7) and your strength (verses 1, 13) in the place of your calling. I ask not so much for length of days, but that in my weakness you might show your great strength and in my frustration, you might bring fruit satisfying to you! I must discipline myself so Jesus might live both more fully in me through my abiding in Him! In this way, You will be glorified in, with, and through me.

Father, I desire this, not just personally, but if and when you place me in positions of authority over your sheep. May I be one of your instruments to lead them into the kind of relationships with you described in 1 Timothy 3:15 (“a pillar and buttress of truth” among your people) and Ephesians 4:11,16 (disciples, evangelist, shepherds, teacher equipping the body of Christ so that it “builds itself up in love”) with you.

For Jesus sake and through Him, all for your eternal glory! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Another Response to Islam

Alice C. Linsley

Jesus is recognized as a great prophet in Islam. He is designated as the one who will lead the angelic armies of God in the last great battle against evil. Radical Muslims, such as Mohammad Atta and his 911 comrades, have portrayed this evil as Western decadence. They appear blind to the moral decadence in their own societies and such men perpetuate evil in the name of religion.

Yet Jesus is more than a prophet. He fulfills all divine prophesy. He was and is the Seed of the Creator, eternally begotten by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and born fully human yet fully God of the Virgin Mary. Jesus' nativity is beautifully described in the Qur'an.

Islam is a religion that requires observance of specific laws and leadership. The words Islam and Muslim mean "submission." Jesus lived before Mohammad and therefore could not have been a follower of Mohammad. Islam began with Mohammed's establishment of the Ummah. Jesus Christ had already established the Church 600 years earlier.

The worship of the Creator God existed among the Afro-Arabians before Mohammad. The great meteorites that fell onto Arabian soil, one of which is shrouded at Mecca, were believed to be gift from the Creator. The people venerated these signs from heaven and even began to worship idols. Mohammad told them not to do this.

Mohammad also endorsed the Five Books Moses (the Pentateuch) as sacred Scripture. The Scriptures say that Yaqtan (Joktan) was Abraham's son by Keturah (Genesis 25). His name is a variation of the name Jonathan, meaning "God gives." Joktan lived about 1987-1912 B.C. That he was a ruler is evident by the solar symbol Y at the beginning of this name. This symbol designates chiefs and rulers.

The Joktanite Tribes of Arabia are Abraham's descendants and the Holy Name they knew was YHWH, meaning "I am that I am."  The people of Yaqtan knew this name before they knew the name Allah.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

George Washington's Prayer

From the Prayer Journal of President George Washington, the First Commander and Chief of the United States Armed Forces

“O eternal and everlasting God…Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may, with more freedom of mind and liberty of will, serve thee, the everlasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life. Bless my family, friends and kindred unite us all in praising and glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before Thee, blessed Savior…Amen.”

Washington Quotes
“I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

"It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?" 

Young George Washington

Washington's Order Against Profanity Among the Troops
The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing, a vice hitherto little known in our American Army is growing into fashion. He hopes that the officers will, by example as well as influence, endeavor to check it and that both they and the men will reflect that we can little hope of the blessing of Heaven on our army if we insult it by our impiety and folly. Added to this it is a vice so mean and low without any temptation that every man of sense and character detests and despises it. (signed George Washington)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Response to a Muslim Scholar

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

A Muslim scholar posted a comment in response to my article "Why Sincere Muslims Should Learn About Jesus" and I would like to reply to him. Here are his questions and my responses.

Question:  Was Jesus a Muslim prophet?

Islam is a religion that requires observance of specific laws and leadership. The words Islam and Muslim mean "submission." Jesus could not have been a follower of Mohammad before Mohammad existed. The Muslim religion did not begin until Mohamed established it. Jesus Christ lived and established His Church over 600 years earlier than Mohammad’s birth, much less his prophecies.

Mohammad endorsed the first five books of the Bible written by Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) as Scripture; therefore, he must be bound by it. In fact, the whole claim that the Muslims descend from Abraham is based upon the Mosaic writings. In these books, the name the Creator gave for Himself was Yahweh (transliteration of the Hebrew text) meaning "I am that I am,” not Allah. The worship of Allah existed before Mohammad’s revelations. Allah was a moon god as admitted by the crescent as the symbol of Islam. Folk tradition has said that Mohammad took a sword and cut the moon in half; such tales contradict and exist as additions to Mosaic scripture. They indicate a synthesis of the Bible’s teachings with one of the great sins after the flood, worship of the heavenly stars (Genesis 11:4; Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17-25).

Muslims need to study the Bible thoroughly. Even Jesus’ ministry and coming were based upon extensive prophecies starting from Genesis 3:1. Mohammad appointed no apostles (appointed and equipped followers) before he died. Therefore, the leadership of Islam continues to be controversial as seen in the fighting between its various branches. Islamic leaders claim authority that Mohammad did not give, nor had according to the Mosaic scriptures that he himself claimed as authoritative.

Question: According to the Bible, should women be covered, especially their heads?

What does Bible teach about the covering of women? This question is discussed in 1 Corinthians 11 in the New Testament portion of the Holy Bible. The basic premise is the question of whether or not the order in creation in Genesis is applicable to lines of authority in society, and how that authority should be practically applied in the worship and prayer (11:5, 13) services of the Christian Church.

God’s chain of authority is as follows: God Himself, then Christ, His Apostles as vessels of the Holy Spirit, man, woman, and children. First Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”

The outward symbols for this order under discussion were concerning head covering. The length of hair was one symbol. A man was to have short hair (11:4) thereby showing that his basic authority is God (11:7). While the woman was to have long hair in comparison to show her acceptance of her the husband’s or father’s leadership and authority (11:5-6). Women were considered created as a suitable complementary helper supporting man in the carrying out his duties in God’s service (Genesis 2:18-24).

Another issue that was being addressed in Corinth at that time was how to distinguish a Christian woman under either her father’s or husband’s authority from women under no authority (protection) and/or a prostitute. In that culture, these women most often did not wear sufficiently modest covering. Therefore, in order to present a godly witness, women were instructed to have covering and/or apparel showing a relationship to male authority in a godly family. For some, long hair was adopted as their covering (11:15).

First Corinthians was written because of controversies within that particular Church as they wrestled with the question, “Now that I am a Christ-believer, how should I then live in my culture?” It is significant in that it set a precedent for all early churches as Paul was an Apostle of Christ. Christ Jesus appointed definite leaders and representative to carry on his revelations and commandments (Matthew 10:2-4; Galatians 1:1; Romans 11:3). These Apostles were authoritative in the transmission of Jesus commands, promises, and revelations whereby believers may come to know the Father and Jesus and experience eternal life (John 17:3, 20; Romans 10:8-17). For this reason the New Testament has authority; it was written either by or under the authority of Jesus’ Apostles, all eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and granted the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write and record those events.

Related Reading: Another Response to Islam

Friday, February 14, 2014

Forgiveness and Restoration

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Forgiveness, Not Enough! 

(Part I of a new series)

The necessity of forgiveness has a greater or lesser compulsion according to importance of who one has wronged. As important as forgiveness is in human relationships, one’s relationship with God far exceeds every other relationship. Since God is the Almighty Creator and Just Judge of everyone, a reconciled relationship with Him through forgiveness affects every other relationship. By finding forgiveness, a new start in life can be experienced with an opportunity to build a future without guilt, shame, or haunting memories.

Few recognize that the source of all sin is not honoring God as God. “…The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment “(Mark 12:29‑30). Romans 1:28 indicates that to ignore a person who is worthy of honor is the root of insult, when it says, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”

When persons choose to ignore God, their minds become darkened, and unable to discern truth, they act without acknowledging the consequences that inevitably follows their actions. To seek forgiveness, one must acknowledge that they have wronged, not only others and themselves, but the God who created them and whose holiness and power they have denied or ignored. By “turning ones back on” or “reversing one’s direction,” which is the meaning of repentance, and asking God to grant forgiveness for their wrong acts and the attitude along with their lack of faith and honor of God in the first place, the person must commit themselves “to bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8 NASU). To simply seek forgiveness with no commitment to change is not true repentance.

Jesus directs new believers to stay (abide) under the influence of His Word so that they will comprehend the breadth and depth of his love and mercy and be persuaded to more deeply respond to God, and to obey Him on the basis knowledgeable faith. Asking forgiveness of God is not a temporary experience like taking aspirin for symptoms or fever or pain without understanding the problem. Too many times, the newspaper headlines or “Dear Abby” columns record testimonies of people who ask for forgiveness, and simply continue doing or falling back into the same wrongs. The forgiveness was temporary and smacks of being sorry for a single event, or just regretting being caught.

Without reconciling adjustment, forgiveness can be like drunkenness, an experience of mixed pleasure and/or conflict with uncertain anxiety. Marriages between two strong carnal personalities serve to illustrate this also with constant disagreements and even fights. While they may for a time they will forgive each other, kiss and make up, the cycle continues until forgiveness is not enough. They can obtain help and adjust, or they often separate and divorce. Indeed, forgiveness is not enough. There must be a change, a reconciling of their differences that leads to a restoration of their relationship. So it is with our relationship with the Lord. Asking forgiveness must be accompanied with a willful commitment to allow God to set you on a different life journey…one for which He has designed you to travel in relationship with Him and according to his Word. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Walking with Christ through Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

“As awesome as the war weapons are, they cannot compare to the suffering men experienced! Not only from the physical suffering, but both psychological and spiritual. Even as I write these reflections, current reports tell of an increasing rate of suicide, not only among troops in active combat, but among veterans. Not long ago, I had the privilege of helping two who were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTS) to the extent of making attempts to take their own lives. Only spiritual tools made the difference then, and will in the present or the future. I pray they remember what helped them then, so that they can continue in their journey of faith.”

From the upcoming book Reflections of a Combat Chaplain by Edward F. Lundwall

Monday, February 10, 2014

President Lincoln's Faith

Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States of America

March 30, 1863

“It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

President Abraham Lincoln
Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States 

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Science-Faith Question

The internet is buzzing about the Ken Ham-Bill Nye debate. Here are some thoughtful articles related to the science-faith question.

"There are two fundamentally different battles raging in the current debates about evolution. The first pits nearly the entire scientific community against creationists, who believe that they are upholding the veracity of Scripture by denying that evolution happened at all. The second battle concerns not the fact of evolution but the standard neo-Darwinian explanation of it, and the issues at stake are primarily philosophical and scientific."--American physicist Stephen M. Barr 

Creation of the Universe: Examining the evidence

Biblical Illiteracy and Biblical Literalism

A Ken Ham Nightmare: Human Foot Prints Found Below Ice Age Deposits

The "Science Guy" Reveals His Ignorance

Ken Ham Does Not Speak For Me

Faith and Science: A dialogue, not a debate (Conversation with Ian Barbour)

The Ham-Nye Creation Debate: A Huge Missed Opportunity

BioLogos Conversation: Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye

#HamOnNye Post-Debate Round-Up

YEC Dogma is Not Biblical

Objections to the Fundamentalist Reading of Genesis 1-5

The Battle Over Genesis

Millions of Years a Stumbling Block

A Scientific Timeline of Genesis

Science Journalists One Cause of Americans' Ambivalence?

Bishop Ussher Goofed

Monday, February 3, 2014

Psalm 20: Personal and National Revival

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Psalm 20: Personal and National Revival

Theme Verse: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; 
but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Verse 7).

Father, as I begin each day, help me to remember yesterday’s blessings pronounced in the benedictions from worship services, or found in the encouraging devotions of the past. Let me not forget what you have done for me and for your people throughout the ages, for all your doings are worthy of remembrance. I thank and praise you for this Psalm’s call to the Israel to remember the benefits of true worship. Along with ancient Israel, how much trouble I get into when I try to approach you with my problems in mind rather than an attitude of thanksgiving, faith, and hope.

Indeed it is the pattern that our Lord Jesus taught us to follow, “Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.” To honor your name as holy is to pray with a heart stirred with remembrance of all the things you have done. Without this, my desire to show you my devotion dwindles, and my times of worship become mere ritual. As I keep in mind past blessings and victories, I can face the outside world’s threats to both my personal life and that of my country; I can find peace. Then I can intercede in faith remembering that while many others trust in brute weaponry, the true defense of a nation is its people trusting only you.

Remembering the frailty and failures of Israel that led to their collapse, empower me to seek your face for the revival of my nation. Be my defender and the source of peace for those whom we cherish. Continually renew and restore me, as well as our country, that I and my nation can progress the work you have called us to do.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me,
Bless His Holy Name,
And forget not ALL His benefits!