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Friday, August 29, 2014

Making Disciples: What Christian students need to know




In Vinnie Carafano's book, Intensive Discipleship Course: Being Useful To God Nowstudents are challenged to prepare their hearts to serve the Lord and allow his nature to be expressed through them. They gain specific guidance in giving godly counsel and ministering to people with common problems. Finally they learn about Bible study preparation, biblical evangelism, helping new converts to mature, and recognizing their ministry calling.

Developed from years of student ministry experience, the Intensive Discipleship Course is designed specifically for high school and college students. Each volume in the Intensive Discipleship Course is a twelve-week, life-changing exercise of commitment and learning. Students learn principles instead of just facts so that they can apply the Lord's unchanging ways to a rapidly changing world.


Paperback
Number of Pages: 176
ISBN: 1576584704

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Praying Psalm 35: Friends and Foes


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Psalm 35: Friends, Now Foes

Theme Verses: “Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me. . . . For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, which they have dug without cause for my life. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, and let his net that he has hidden catch himself; into that very destruction let him fall.” Psalm 35:1, 7, 8 (NKJ)

As the song writer has written, "O where could I go, but to the LORD!" O Father, when former friends become determined enemies, how can I find deliverance except by your hand? In many circumstances, I am helpless in my own defense; you are my only help. You forbid revenge and violent self-defense; therefore, it is righteous for me to petition you that they be caught in the "nets" they have set for me. Whether they have sinned away their "day of opportunity" or need the severe rebuke of your chastening, may they know that you love me and are my defense (Revelation 3:9)! As I have prayed for them in time past, I continue to do so as Jesus instructed (Matthew 5:44). May the shame and consequences of their sins against me, bring them to humble repentance before you, that they may be restored into your presence and our friendship be renewed through your wonderful mercy and grace in Christ. Grant me the double joy of praising you, not for just your deliverance of me, and in their redemption also. May I shout, “Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” (Verse 27)

Related reading:
Praying Psalm 31: Humbly Waiting on God
Praying Psalm 32: The Beatitude of the Redeemed
Praying Psalm 33: A National Prayer for Revival
Praying Psalm 34: God Redeems

Monday, August 18, 2014

Praying Psalm 34: God Redeems


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Psalm 34
Theme Verse: “The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants; and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.” (Verse 22, KJV)

LORD, I give you the gift of praise in your presence and before others. Only you deliver all who have humbly sought and trusted you from our fears, our shame, and daily troubles. With a grateful heart, I desire to give you honor by guarding my words, living and speaking you truths, departing form evil ways, and pursuing peace. I often fail, yet you, in your infinite mercy and grace, bless me far beyond what I deserve. Break my will as Christ’s bones were broken for bring me into a personal relationship with you, so that I soul can show forth you loving character among others. May my only fear be that I dishonor my Savior and Redeemer.

“My soul shall make boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” (Verse 3 KJV)


Related reading:
Praying Psalm 1: The Way of the Righteous
Praying Psalm 2: Kiss the Son
Praying Psalm 3: God is My Shield
Praying Psalm 4: Let Me be Approved of Thee, O God
Praying Psalm 5: Renew a Right Spirit Within Me
Praying Psalm 6: When Weeping Leads to Victory
Praying Psalm 7: The Basis of Boldness
Praying Psalm 8: Worship in Admiration and Humility
Praying Psalm 9: Hope for the Oppressed
Praying Psalm 10: Deliverance from the Wicked
Praying Psalm 11: The Foundation of Life
Praying Psalm 12: Lamenting the Lack of Godliness
Praying Psalm 13: Faith's Triumph
Praying Psalm 14: Remembering We Are Sinners
Praying Psalm 15: Fellowship With God
Praying Psalm 16: God-Pleasing Godliness
Praying Psalm 17: Progression Sanctification
Praying Psalm 18: God's Power to Deliver
Praying Psalm 19: Witness for Worship
Praying Psalm 20: Personal and National Revival
Praying Psalm 21: Worship and Thanksgiving
Praying Psalm 22: The Hope of Christ - The Prophetic Vision
Praying Psalm 23: Daily Living with the Good Shepherd
Praying Psalm 24: Inspired by Creation, we worship the Creator
Praying Psalm 25: Lifting up one’s soul while waiting upon God
Praying Psalm 26: God's affirmation of the Accused
Praying Psalm 27: Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 28: Desperately Seeking the Lord
Praying Psalm 29: God's Glory and Power Seen in Nature
Praying Psalm 30: A Disciple's Heart Desire
Praying Psalm 31: Humbly Waiting on God
Praying Psalm 32: The Beatitude of the Redeemed
Praying Psalm 33: A National Prayer for Revival

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How Faith Overcomes - Part VI


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Because Satan gained control of the world by inciting our first parents to follow him by believing his gospel of seeking self satisfaction through human wisdom, the world's culture is devoid of love and light. In the world, the expression of love of someone is usually a conditional act of deception. “I love you because…” or “I love you if…” or “I love you when…” are the hidden phrases behind most “I love you.” Each implies a motive of getting something that is unknown by the other person. They are an act of darkness.

The result is pain and suffering or punishment if the deceitful one does not get his motivating desire or if he has gotten his hidden desire, he is unsatisfied, tires of it, or resents any responsibilities or consequences it brings with it. For example, a man may “love” his wife “because she is beautiful,” but when age, illness, childbearing, or accident reduces that attractiveness, his love turns to dissatisfaction, neglect of the marriage relationship, resentment of her expectations and his responsibilities, adulterous relationships, abuse, and even divorce.

Another example is the woman whose love is dependent on what a man can provide for her materially or to satisfy her vanity. When her expectations are not fulfilled, she acts out in selfish ways, pouts, manipulates, nags, often seeks those things in ways that are inappropriate, disrespectful, and disloyal. Both are acting darkly just as a child who pouts because he did not get what he wanted.

In Galatians 5, this character of worldly love is spelled out as the works of the flesh. Since the worldly person considers one's self to be his god, he or she claims a right to demand or force his will. One does whatever he needs to do to get what he wants whether he hurts himself or others in the process of overcoming the obstacles in his way by forceful self assertion. Examples of persons having fleshly character are found in dysfunctional families, socialistic political movements, revolutions, and crime elements.

What one truly loves is the object that one occupies their time obtaining. What people choose to love reveals where they put their faith. The person who loves the world believes that the world's culture possesses the things that benefit him. The same applies to God and the things of God, Hebrews 11:6 says, “…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is rewards those who seek Him.”

First John 1:1-4 states that the basis of faith and fulfillment resides in the reality of Christ's coming. In Him is revealed the solution of the world's ignorance and the turmoil of personal nature of sin. He is the immediate Creator of all things before they were corrupted by man's sin (John 1:1-3; Genesis 1:31). In His resurrected Person, He becomes the Head and Life Source for the regenerate and a new creation: “So also it is written, ‘” Adam became a living soul."’ The last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-47; 1 John 5:10-13).

Through a trusting relationship with Christ, the corrupted worldly troubles can be replaced. The new birth that Jesus talks about in John 3 allows a person to become a new person from the inside out. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever would believe in Him would have everlasting life (Verse 16). Paul writes that by being a new person through faith in Christ, God “…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 1:3 NASU) How does one appropriate those spiritual blessings? Paul answers that question by example: “…we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASU) The practical way of understanding “beholding…the glory of the Lord” is to understand that this is just seeing His surpassing worth.

How then does faith overcome the world and its lack of real love? It is by a willful replacement of worldly culture’s views and actions by the provisions gifted us through faith in Christ in three ways:

1. By continuing a daily learning attitude and practicing of Christ's commands (Matthew 28:20); studying, meditating, and applying the Holy Scriptures to your life (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5).

2. By reflecting God’s character by a pattern of pure and intelligent love; emptying of one’s selfish desires to be filled with the Holy Spirit's teaching through meditation and prayer (James 1:2-8).

3. By maintaining an appropriate relationship with the Lord on every level of maturity; being faithful to follow Christ’s leading in every area of your life and from every stage of your life (Philippians 3:12-14).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Praying Psalm 33


Psalm 33: A National Prayer for Revival
Edward F. Lundwall Jr.


Theme Verses: “Let your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:22 (NKJ)

O Father, I worship you above all else, as the psalmist exhorts, for it is your blessings that fills the earth with your goodness. As men's hearts recognize this, they prepared to hope in the eternal things of your Holy Spirit.

Father, I thank you that your special blessings can rest upon nations that truly embrace you as their God. What joy our nation and those of the world might experience if only we would sound forth your praises. Oh, if we might experience the increased peace that comes upon individuals and nations as they wait in faith upon you. Give us the spirit of meditation, that as we wait upon you, think upon our ways, and choose to humbly direct our steps in faith upon your paths.

Motivate our nation to turn to you. Help us to show men their need of Christ as Savior and Lord. For without spiritual rebirth, our hearts are not in the condition to either seek you, nor to receive abiding blessings upon our country. Let it be known that your abiding blessings are upon a nation when godly individuals exercise their hearts to make their ways reflect your ways! Let the light of those that love you shine so that our country might fully turn to you, that we might be forgiven, Lord, and be renewed through your abiding blessings rest upon us.

Oh, let me wait before you
Until the warmth of Your Love
Makes me glow with your fellowship,
Causing others to see your light
And rejoice in Him who is the Light of the World!
 
 
 
Related reading
Praying Psalm 1: The Way of the Righteous
Praying Psalm 2: Kiss the Son
Praying Psalm 3: God is My Shield
Praying Psalm 4: Let Me be Approved of Thee, O God
Praying Psalm 5: Renew a Right Spirit Within Me
Praying Psalm 6: When Weeping Leads to Victory
Praying Psalm 7: The Basis of Boldness
Praying Psalm 8: Worship in Admiration and Humility
Praying Psalm 9: Hope for the Oppressed
Praying Psalm 10: Deliverance from the Wicked
Praying Psalm 11: The Foundation of Life
Praying Psalm 12: Lamenting the Lack of Godliness
Praying Psalm 13: Faith's Triumph
Praying Psalm 14: Remembering We Are Sinners
Praying Psalm 15: Fellowship With God
Praying Psalm 16: God-Pleasing Godliness
Praying Psalm 17: Progression Sanctification
Praying Psalm 18: God's Power to Deliver
Praying Psalm 19: Witness for Worship
Praying Psalm 20: Personal and National Revival
Praying Psalm 21: Worship and Thanksgiving
Praying Psalm 22: The Hope of Christ - The Prophetic Vision
Praying Psalm 23: Daily Living with the Good Shepherd
Praying Psalm 24: Inspired by Creation, we worship the Creator
Praying Psalm 25: Lifting up one’s soul while waiting upon God
Praying Psalm 26: God's affirmation of the Accused
Praying Psalm 27: Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 28: Desperately Seeking the Lord
Praying Psalm 29: God's Glory and Power Seen in Nature
Praying Psalm 30: A Disciple's Heart Desire
Praying Psalm 31: Humbly Waiting on God



 

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Daddy, What's the Trinity?

                  
A Simple, but Personal Picture

By Edward F. Lundwall


 Jimmy was going to a church membership class. He seemed to understand the many subjects taught, especially after the teacher answered the many questions he asked. However, one subject was still not clear in his mind. His teacher had proven the doctrine of God as a Trinity, but Jimmy heard his teacher say that the Trinity was hard to understand and theologians often debate how to describe what they know. Since Jimmy did understand that God is not the author of confusion, he decided to see if his Dad could help him. Jimmy started with the question, "Is there a simple way to understand the Trinity?"

 “Well, son, you have asked a difficult question. While the word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible, yet, it describes a very important thing about God as He reveals Himself. Trinity means three in one, i.e., tri (three) unity (one whole). Trinity is used to describe His basic nature and how it functions. This word is not used to describe all his characteristics, power, and details of His nature. Trinity simply describes His personality functions. This means that He has a unity of life, involving more than one personality expression.

 The Bible speaks of many plural unities. The Bible emphatically teaches that there is but one true God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and the One who provides redemption for fallen men: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:" (Deut 6:4). However, the Old Testament Hebrew word for "one" is a plural unity. It is used of specific things having more than one member. This Hebrew word stem is used for the first day of creation yet it was composed of “evening and morning.” A single day but having two parts performing different functions that work together to do more that can be done without the other.

Another plural unity described in scripture is marriage. From the very beginning husband and wife were called one flesh. Family members are one in the sense that they share the same life and live together. Christ prays that along with himself and God the Father, that Christians or believers are to be one in the same way (John 17:11). Christ possesses both eternal life from an eternity past as God, the Word (John 1:1) with God the Father. Born again Christians experience an oneness with God by receiving Christ’s life (Galatians 2:20) and thereby are Christ’s brethren (Romans 8:29). As God, the eternal Word (John 1:1–3), He united with a sinless human life becoming Jesus. Thereby, in Himself God is a plural unity. His name in prophecy, Emmanuel, (Isaiah 7:14) describes Him as “God with us” born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:23). When believers become born again, they receive the life of Christ (1 John 5:11, 12) and therefore are in unity with God the Father and the Holy Spirit by sharing this life. So there are many plural unities in the Bible and life.

Another way to understand these plural unities and the trinity is to identify their functioning parts. As with any living being, its various parts have different functions or jobs (1 Corinthians 12:14–18). The word “trinity” describes the eternal God as three identifiable parts in His being. In the limitations of language, these different parts are called personalities: Father, Son (God, the Word dwelling in flesh – John 1:14) and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

In my opinion, son, the easiest way to understand the trinity of God comes by understanding our own being. Adam, as the first human being, was created by God in His own image (Genesis 1:26). So when we consider the essential components of human life, we begin to see a picture of God's life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23: the Bible clearly describes man as a trinity, one man, composed of three parts: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Each individual is composed of a spirit, a soul and a body and yet is but one person, a plural unity, i.e., a trinity created in the image of God. Each part of man has a different function, one from the other, yet together, they complete one being. Each part of man is identifiable by its function, yet all parts are essential for each person to be complete. The body functions to house one's spirit and soul through which they function in their expressive ways. Also, the body functions, according to its own needs and desires. The soul functions to gain and express personality through intellect (learning and thinking), emotions (giving feeling to one’s intellectual orientations) and volition (the power of choosing and sticking with it). While the spirit functions in communion (fellowship with God’s Spirit), conscience (the testimony of sensing right and wrong while in communion with the Holy Spirit) and intuition (enablement to understand spiritual things).

God designed human beings to be like a kingdom within their own self like He is, a sovereign within Himself. For the true Christian, the body is like the people who are ruled by the soul, led by a prime minister, the Holy Spirit, who then communicates with God the supreme King. So, the Trinity of God is reflected in God’s design of man. Jesus, as the Word, gives visible expression from and about God the Father like the body functions as a stage for man’s soul and spirit. Therefore, God the Father is the Authority of the Trinity like man’s soul and the Holy Spirit as the Trinity’s communication and effecting agent like the human spirit.

 Jimmy, why not just look at yourself? You were created in God’s image. Your body, soul, and spirit are different parts of you, but together, they harmoniously live and function as one…A special young man, my son, Jimmy!”

 The young boy broke out in a huge grin, and hugged his dad tightly saying, “I got it, Dad. Now, I see what the teacher was trying to say. I will explain it to her the way you explained it to me next week!”
  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Praying Psalm 32


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Psalm 32: The Beatitude of the Redeemed

Theme Verses:  Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2


O Father, again I would thank you for the new heart and guileless spirit you have given me. By these undeserved gifts, your justification and righteousness find progressive harmony. What praise we must give you! During this process you give us the security of the sure mercies of David. I pray that others will recognize that the one so blessed must have a heart and spirit like David’s. What joy we experience when we give you a "spirit" in which there is no deceit. What foolishness to think that we can be "clever" with you, and/or manipulate you to achieve selfish purposes.

Enable me to fully share the blessedness of being honest inside. Help me to feel so secure in my relationship with you that I dare open myself up entirely before you. Help me to feel with my soul and spirit the greatness of a salvation in which Jesus washed away my sin with His precious blood! O what unspeakable blessedness it is to be in Him so that you no longer "impute (account) iniquity" to me! You are worthy of thanksgiving, praise and honor forever for making such salvation available to men with independent wills! For to us is given a new heart and mind that finds fulfillment in obeying, trusting and fellowsipping with you through your promises, your Word and the Spirit of Jesus!

I marvel that though you have given us this perfect, secure standing, you still chasten us and draw us back when we wander and sin. O Father, what a basis for hope in the time of our troubles. I humbly ask for your glory's sake by abiding in Christ, that I be enabled to be fruitful to fulfill the vision of making disciples which you have given me. To this end do I hope in you!

Related reading
Praying Psalm 1: The Way of the Righteous
Praying Psalm 2: Kiss the Son
Praying Psalm 3: God is My Shield
Praying Psalm 4: Let Me be Approved of Thee, O God
Praying Psalm 5: Renew a Right Spirit Within Me
Praying Psalm 6: When Weeping Leads to Victory
Praying Psalm 7: The Basis of Boldness
Praying Psalm 8: Worship in Admiration and Humility
Praying Psalm 9: Hope for the Oppressed
Praying Psalm 10: Deliverance from the Wicked
Praying Psalm 11: The Foundation of Life
Praying Psalm 12: Lamenting the Lack of Godliness
Praying Psalm 13: Faith's Triumph
Praying Psalm 14: Remembering We Are Sinners
Praying Psalm 15: Fellowship With God
Praying Psalm 16: God-Pleasing Godliness
Praying Psalm 17: Progression Sanctification
Praying Psalm 18: God's Power to Deliver
Praying Psalm 19: Witness for Worship
Praying Psalm 20: Personal and National Revival
Praying Psalm 21: Worship and Thanksgiving
Praying Psalm 22: The Hope of Christ - The Prophetic Vision
Praying Psalm 23: Daily Living with the Good Shepherd
Praying Psalm 24: Inspired by Creation, we worship the Creator
Praying Psalm 25: Lifting up one’s soul while waiting upon God
Praying Psalm 26: God's affirmation of the Accused
Praying Psalm 27: Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 28: Desperately Seeking the Lord
Praying Psalm 29: God's Glory and Power Seen in Nature
Praying Psalm 30: A Disciple's Heart Desire
Praying Psalm 31: Humbly Waiting on God


Sunday, August 3, 2014

How Faith Overcomes - Part V


Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

God's plan to overcoming the world's ignorance of right, revenge, and guilt is a Person and a relationship with Him – the Lord Jesus. Christ is more than a Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), or a go-between, He is an Advocate, ones who sympathizes with and helps in a process of adjustment. He came in the form of a human for the purpose of advocacy. “…He had to be made like His brethren in all things” Hebrew 2:17 NASU and as a result He was “…tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NASU).

Two great proofs that His humanness was tested without sin exist. The first started in the desert when He was physically weakened by about forty days of fasting, which is about how long a human can do without eating. Much longer and the body dies. Temptation is the incitement of a natural desire to enjoy, be, or do beyond the limits set by God. He overcame the temptation to enjoy food, to be the Messiah before the Father's time, and to exercise rule over all the earth by yielding to Satan's power and worship, when in a most vulnerable state. However, his greatest temptation was to avoid the terrible suffering of paying for all mankind's sin penalty by crucifixion. His personal struggle in Gethsemane was so great that he sweat blood as he pleaded three times that another way be found to save the world, yet submitted to the Father’s will nonetheless. The Father sent angels to minister strengthen him in preparation for what he was about to undergo. Jesus did not fall short of doing God's will (Romans 3:23a).

In 1 John 1, Christ did more than set an achievable example and solution for humans. As God's supreme Prophet in the Scriptures, He solved ignorance of what's right (verses 7 and 9). As our Advocate Shepherd, He defends us so eliminating the need for revenge by mediating judgment, and, at the final judgment of those not reconciled to God (Revelations 20:10-15). By paying for our sins, He does away with our need to feel guilt (Ephesians 2:14a).

Now a true relationship with Jesus Christ is developed and sustained by a faith that overcomes all obstacles. This requires definite dedication (being a true disciple) since the world system is constantly pulling on us. Paul put it this way, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NASU). As these instructions are applied, a person can become: “…approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:16 NASU). Such a life of discipleship leads to the practice of a love for God and others that indeed overcomes the world!