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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Love Priorities


Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Love takes its value and blessing from who one loves. Christians love the Lord Jesus Christ and find the things of Himself of supreme value. Love in the Christian experience is an essential mark of being born again. (1 John 3; John 13;34, 35). 

God is love (1 John 4:16) and “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17). Heaven's love treasures are experienced and appropriated by faith in the God of love. Our fellowship with God is the fellowship of love lived according to the will of God (James 4:2, 3).

Some seem to think that love as an emotion has virtue apart from God, an independent virtue! However, love as emotion is only "aspirin" love. It makes one feel good for a while, until it wears off. Worse, such fleshly love can bring the person into opposition to God's love.

Love is expressed in obedience to God. Genuine love, as expressed by faith, produces obedience to Him according to His Word (John 10:27-30;14:15; Rom 1:5; 16:24-27). There are priorities in how this love is expressed. First, to those nearest us: our families, neighbors, and fellows at church. Families have happiness when they accept their role in their families that God has placed them (1 Cor 12:19). We are to love especially those in our immediate household. Not to do so is to deny the faith and be worse than an infidel, according to the Apostle Paul. "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Tim 5:8).

This first priority of love is not to become an idol, however. The Lord sometimes asks us to follow in a way that takes us away from family, friends and church. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matt 10:37-38).

In all our relationships "the fear of God" is to be functioning. This background of love and spiritual relationships is well illustrated in Ephesians 5:21-25.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it...

Since love is experienced through our relationship with the Lord Jesus, it functions properly only according to the spiritual role we accept and seek to fulfill by His grace.

Related reading: Christian Marriage; Facets of Married Love

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Christ is Risen!




An Easter Blessing

The Lord of the empty tomb
The conqueror of gloom
Come to you…

The Lord in the garden walking
The Lord to Mary talking
Come to you…

The Lord in the Upper Room
Dispelling fear and doom
Come to you…

The Lord on the road to Emmaus
The Lord giving hope to Thomas
Come to you…

The Lord appearing on the shore
Giving us life forever more
Come to you!


Adam, David. The Edge of Glory: Prayer in the Celtic Tradition. London: Triangle/SPCK, 1985.


Related reading: As Resurrection Day Approaches


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Good Friday Reflection

Image result for Image of the Good Friday

Looking at the Cross

“How do we measure the size of a fire? By the number of firefighters and fire engines sent to fight against it. How do we measure the seriousness of a medical condition? By the amount of risk the doctors take in prescribing dangerous antibiotics or surgical procedures. How do we measure the gravity of sin and the incomparable vastness of God’s love for us? By looking at the magnitude of what God has done for us in Jesus, who became a like a common criminal for our sake and in our place.

When you really come to know the unconditional love and forgiveness of Jesus, then you will also come to know the depth of your own participation in sin. And at the very same moment (this is the glory of Good Friday) you will come to know the true reality, the true joy and gladness, of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.”


Flemming, Rutledge. “The Common Criminal” from Bread and Wine; Reading for Lent and Easter. New York: Plough Publishing, 2003.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

INDEX of Topics


Current as of  30 May 2017

Apologetics
Why Sincere Muslims Should Learn About Jesus
Looking for the True God?
A Latent Stumbling Block
Contending for the Faith (Latent Stumbling Block, Part II)
A Historic Battle (Latent Stumbling Block, Part III)
Satanic Strategies (Latent Stumbling Block, Part IV)
Defining Orthodoxy (Latent Stumbling Block, Part V)
The Spiritual Battle (Latent Stumbling Block, Part VI)
Principles Determining Interpretation (Latent Stumbling Block, Part VII)
The Creation of the Universe (Latent Stumbling block, Part VIII)
My Response to a Muslim Scholar
Another Response to Islam
Further Thoughts on Creation Issues
The Glory of Belonging
The Science-Faith Question
President Lincoln's Faith
A.W. Tozer on Pursuing God

Authority
Divine Authority as a Gift
A Special Meeting in Galilee

Baptism
On Holy Baptism and Discipleship
Psalm 23: Identification through Baptism
Progressively Exchanging Life

Bible Blurb (Thoughts about the Bible, brief biblical insights)
Probability and Reliability
Specific Details of Jesus' Last Week
Mini Bible
The Bible is a Library

Bible Study
A Clarifying Search of the Scriptures
The Living Word Transforms Lives
The Gospel for Seekers
Two Powerful Words: "I Believe"
Melchizedek: A Type of Christ
The Incarnation of the Son of God
Conforming the Mind to Scripture
The New Testament: What Authority Without the Inspiration Doctrine?
Christ's Triumphal Resurrection: Victory over Death
The Second Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: Redemption!
The Third Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: A New People
The Fourth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: An Entirely New Self-concept
The Fifth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: God's Power for Living
The Sixth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: A New Glorified Body
The Seventh Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Eighth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Breath of God: Why Study Greek?
The Veracity of the Holy Bible
Praying the Psalms
Meditation of Luke 22: Glory
Meditation on His Glory, Part II

Discipleship
Thomas à Kempis on Discipleship
Merton, Bonhoeffer and Kierkegaard on Discipleship
Pastors Need to Disciple and Honor Vocations
The Importance of Teaching for Discipleship
The Importance of Follow-up in Making Disciples
What is the Context of Biblical Discipleship?
All Need to Repent
Forgiveness: Against Easy Believeism
Repentance Unto Life
All Need to Repent
Billy Graham on Discipleship
C.S. Lewis on Discipleship
Oswald Chambers on Discipleship
John Stott on Discipleship
Evelyn Underhill on Discipleship
Charles H. Spurgeon on Discipleship
Dwight L. Moody on Discipleship
Survey of the Fundamentals of Discipleship
Making Disciples: What Christian Students Need to Know
How to Build a Disciple-Making Church
Building a Disciple-Making Church
Discipleship and Church Mission Statements
C.S. Lewis Was a Thoroughly Converted Person
Larry Osborne: Thoughts on Discipleship
Who am I in Christ?
Living the Gospel, Part I
Living the Gospel, Part II
Forgiveness and Restoration (Part I)
Forgiveness Must Bring Forth Fruit (Part II)
Forgiveness is Not Enough! (Part III)
The Costs and Benefits of Christian Discipleship
Discipleship is Not Refurbished Religious Education
Discipleship Comes By Listening
Taking Your Spiritual Temperature
Are First Commandments Neglected?


Distinctive Discipleship blog
Launching a Blog about Discipleship
One Year Anniversary! Thanks for reading, folks.

Easter
Christ is Risen!
Resurrection Day Approaches

Emotions
The Dangers of Emotional Compulsion
The Christian and Emotions

Evangelism
Discipling With Authority
The Great Commission is Our Mission
The Great Commission and Things Unwritten
The Great Commission - Part III
The Great Commission - Part IV
Partnering with the Lord
Bringing Christ to our Neighbors
You Shall Be Fishers of Men

Faith
Our Common Confession
How Faith Overcomes - Part I
How Faith Overcomes - Part II
How Faith Overcomes - Part III
How Faith Overcomes - Part IV
How Faith Overcomes - Part V
How Faith Overcomes - Part VI
Faith Overcomes Antichrists - Part VII
How Faith Overcomes - Part VIII
How Faith Overcomes - Part IX
Obedience of Faith, Part I
Obedience of Faith, Part II
Obedience of Faith , Part III

Jesus Christ
The Many Triumphs of Christ's Resurrection
The First Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Second Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Third Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Fourth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Fifth Triumph
The Sixth Triumph
The Seventh Triumph
The Eight Triumph
Before the Throne of God

Holidays
Let All the Angels Adore Him!
Christmas: Merry Christmas to Adam's Race (a poem)
Merry Christmas to All US Residents
A Blessed Nativity Feast
Divine Opportunities in the New Year
New Year's Day: A.W. Tozer
Salt the New Year!
Prayer for the New Year
Presidents' Day: President Abraham Lincoln's Faith
St. Patrick's Day: Remember an Obedient Servant of the Lord
Fourth of July: Prayer for the Nation

Lundwall, Edward F. Jr.
About Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
(See "Publications" below for information on ordering printed materials.)

Marriage
Part I: Christian Marriage
Part II: Married Love
Part III: The Many Facets Of Christian Married Love
Part IV: Living in Harmony
Part V: Loving for a Lifetime
Part VI: Married Life: Continued Harmony

Military Service
Military Service in Vietnam: Why Volunteer?
Why I Volunteered
Walking With Christ Through Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
When the Mortars Fell
Mercy in the Midst
On Mercy and the Number 13
Letter to a Christian Service Person in Desert Storm

Prayer
The Lt's Godly Prayer
George Washington's Prayer
Introduction to Praying the Psalms
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
Praying Psalm 26: God's Affirmation of the Accused
Praying Psalm 27: Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 28: Desperately Seeking in Prayer
Praying Psalm 29: God's Power and Glory Seen in Nature
Praying Psalm 30: A Disciple's Heart Desire
Praying Psalm 31: Humbly Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 32: The Beatitude of the Redeemed
Praying Psalm 33: A National Prayer for Revival
Praying Psalm 34: God Redeems
Praying Psalm 35: Friends and Foes
Praying Psalm 36: Finding Holiness in God's Presence
Praying Psalm 37: Trusting the Lord
Praying Psalm 38: The Suffering Sinner
Praying Psalm 39: The Discouraged Disciple
Praying Psalm 40: The Sustained Servant
Praying Psalm 41: The Sick Servant
Praying Psalm 42: The Dry Disciple
Praying Psalm 43: The Questioning Disciple
Praying Psalm 44: A Dependent Disciple
Praying Psalm 45: A Disciple in Love
Praying Psalm 46: The Disciple's Refuge
Praying Psalm 47: The King's Disciple
Psalm 48: The Disciple's Stronghold
Prayers Not Answered? Why?
Unanswered Prayer, Part I
Unanswered Prayer, Part II
Unanswered Prayer, Part III
Unanswered Prayer, Part IV
Praying Hebrews 1:1
Praying Hebrews: He shall be to me a Son
Praying Hebrews: He shall be heir of all things
Praying Hebrews 2:9-11
Praying Hebrews 2:14-17
Praying Hebrews 3: The Builder and the Building
Praying Hebrews 3: Jesus Our Great High Priest
Praying Hebrews 3:6-19
Praying Hebrews 4:1-3
Praying Hebrews: The Disciple's Perfect Priest
Praying Hebrews: The Design of Discipleship
Praying Hebrews 6: God is Faithful


Publications
The Breath of God: Why study Greek?
The Disciple's Cross: Progressively exchanging life
Book 1: Growth of the Faithful (Acceptance of Foundational Precepts)
Book 2: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Contentment)
Book 3: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Development)
Book 4: Grown of the Faithful (Principles of Endurance)
Book 5: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Expression)
Book 6: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Ministry)


Spiritual Warfare
Some Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare
Spiritual Warfare
The Spiritual Battle

Testimony
A Dancing Disciple
Bug Inspired Faith
I Like an Old Wash Rag
The Story of Three Trees
Jesus and the Fire Witch
Digging Dirt by Faith
Faith Facing Death
A Lost Dad is Found
Loving God With My Mind


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Praying Psalm 47: The Disciple's King

 
 

“O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
For the Lord Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.” (Psalm 47: 1-2)

 
Father God, being under an absolute governing body, let alone, a single dictating governor is difficult. People yearn to have their way and work to do their own thing. Each seeks to do what he wants to do regardless of how it might affect him or others.

The by-words of our day are freedom, independence, individuality, and diversity. Yet, Lord, here am I desiring You to be the absolute ruler of my heart, my life, my sphere of influence, my country, my world.

I choose to honor and respect you; I seek to submit to your will and ways: I desire to joyously praise You in all my circumstances, and I want to trust you fully. Why? You are the Great Designer of all the earth and its people. You alone know the purposes for which I am best created. You are the Compassionate Redeemer of those who turn from sin to find a Savior. Only You are worthy to be exalted above all else that would demand my loyalty, including myself. Indeed, only You are my King! I believe that your Kingdom is eternal. Hallelujah!

Related reading: Praying Psalm 46: The Disciple's Refuge; Praying Psalm 45: A Disciple in Love; Praying Psalm 44: A Dependent Disciple; Praying Psalm 43: The Questioning Disciple; Praying Psalm 42: The Dry Disciple; Praying Psalm 41: The Sick Servant; Praying Psalm 40: The Sustained Servant; Praying Psalm 39: The Discouraged Disciple; Praying Psalm 38: The Suffering Sinner; Praying Psalm 37: Trust in the Lord
 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thomas à Kempis on Discipleship


Thomas à Kempis (1380 – 1471) was a Dutch religious of the late medieval period and the author of The Imitation of Christ, one of the most popular Christian devotional books of all time. The book was first issued anonymously in 1418 and quickly received wide acclaim. It was copied by different scribes and was attributed to different people. Those claims have subsequently been invalidated by scholars.

Thomas à Kempis wrote many other devotional works. However, The Imitation of Christ remains the best known and the first in order of merit. This work comprises in bulk only about one-tenth of the works of à Kempis.


Thomas à  Kempis:

“Realize that to know Christ you must lead a dying life. The more you die to yourself, the more you will live unto God. You will never enjoy heavenly things unless you are ready to suffer hardship for Christ. Nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing more helpful to you on this earth. When there is a choice to be made, take the narrow way. This alone will make you more life Christ.”


Related reading: John Stott on Discipleship;  Dwight L. Moody on DiscipleshipCharles H. Spurgeon on DiscipleshipBilly Graham on DiscipleshipOswald Chambers on DiscipleshipEvelyn Underhill on DiscipleshipA.W. Tozer on DiscipleshipC.S. Lewis on DiscipleshipArchbishop Michael Ramsey on Discipleship


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Merton, Bonhoeffer and Kierkegaard on Discipleship


Thomas Merton:

“To know the cross is to know that we are saved by the sufferings of Christ; more, it is to know the love of Christ who underwent suffering and death in order to save us. It is, then to know Christ. For to know his love is not merely to know the story of his love, but to experience in our spirit that we are loved by him, and that in his love the Father manifests his own love for us, through his Spirit poured forth into our hearts…”


Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“Self-denial means knowing only Christ, and no longer oneself. It means seeing only Christ, who goes ahead of us, and no longer the path that is too difficult for us. Again, self-denial is saying only: He goes ahead of us; hold fast to him.”


Soren Kierkegaard:

“It is well known that Christ consistently use the expression “follower.” He never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching, but followers of a life Christ is looking for…Christ came into the world with the purpose of saving, not instructing it. At the same time---as is implied to his saving work---he came to be the pattern, to leave footprints for the person who would join him, who would become a follower…What then is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires…Judas was and admirer of Christ!

Does not the Way---Christ’s requirement to die to the world and deny oneself---does this not contain enough danger?

The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe…The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires. And then, remarkably enough, even though he is living amongst a “Christian people,” he incurs the same peril as he did when it was dangerous to openly confess Christ. And because of the follower’s life, it will become evident who the admirers are, for the admirers will become agitated with him. Even these words will disturb many---but they must likewise belong to the admirers.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

To Keep a True Lent


A True Lent
By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)


 
IS this a fast,—to keep
    The larder lean,
        And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?
 
Is it to quit the dish        
    Of flesh, yet still
        To fill
The platter high with fish?
 
Is it to fast an hour,
    Or ragg’d to go,        
        Or show
A downcast look, and sour?
 
No! ’t is a fast to dole
    Thy sheaf of wheat,
        And meat,       
Unto the hungry soul.
 
It is to fast from strife,
    From old debate
        And hate,—
To circumcise thy life.        
 
To show a heart grief-rent;
    To starve thy sin,
        Not bin,—
And that ’s to keep thy Lent.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

"I am Persuaded" - Testimony of Hope Ellen Rapson


Hope Rapson (left) with her sister Anne, Lady Margaret Thatcher,
and Beverly LaHaye (right)

I am Persuaded

By Hope Ellen (Linsley) Rapson


Born to young parents during World War II, my real security lay in my relationship with my paternal grandmother with whom I stayed as my mother followed my father through his military assignments. After the War, my father finished his education through to his Doctor of Jurisprudence while my mother worked. I found myself in one new situation after another since my father was recalled during the Korean Conflict. Between isolated tours and my mother having to work, by the time I was twelve I had attended twelve different schools, in five states. I was used to an absent father, and overprotective control of a young, needy mother. My life focus was acceptance and approval. I chose competition and overachievement as the means to get those. I was narcissistic, and critical.

When I was twelve, my father, Kenneth W. Linsley, was stationed at Oxnard AFB, California. Our family of five lived in a two bedroom duplex apartment in a small town of Somis, California. Because my father wanted his daughters to grow up as “ladies,” he took us to Pleasant Valley Baptist Church so that we would learn morals and associate with proper people. This assignment afforded me four full school years in the same school system, and an opportunity to build relationships with both people and a community for the first time.

Since many of my peers were being baptized or confirmed, I became a competitively active member of the church. I took up the challenge to read my Bible through in a year to win a trip to the Urbana Missionary Conference. What started out as an easy academic goal quickly became a miserable burden. Starting in Genesis, it seemed that the Word only mirrored my empty heart. By the time I reached John, I was so convicted by the Holy Spirit that I often threw the Bible in the trashcan, only to be irresistibly compelled to retrieve it a few minutes later looking for whatever or whomever could make me feel better about myself and my life. John 3 made me realize who He was and why. I went forward at the altar call the next Sunday having truly repented of my sin and having, asked for the forgiveness and salvation only found in Jesus Christ.

When I came out of church, my father was confused and somewhat embarrassed. After all, I had taken all the classes, passed the deacon’s examination board questions, and had been officially baptized. “What was this all about?” he queried. “Daddy, all I can tell your is this. My life is no longer my own.”

So, I have had the mercy and grace to live a life with Jesus for seventy years now. I have seen my parents and sisters come to Christ; I have seen my children trust Him as Savior, marry believers, and raise their children within the parameters of God’s Word. I have seen hard things also…social rejection, persecution, failure, RA, Fibromyalgia, cancer twice, death of loved family and friends, my best friend and husband led astray by the world and his own fears, divorce, and loneliness. However, none has driven me to compete, or overachieve in order to gain acceptance or approval; those issues were settled at the Cross.

Jesus sacrificed His blood and body for my acceptance by our Holy Father through the forgiveness of sins, and He provided my permanent approval by adopting me into the God’s family through regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Also, God has been and continues to be faithful to me through every stage of my life. To quote a beloved old hymn, “I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed until that day...”


Related reading:

Hope E. Rapson's poems The Single Sign; Pepper Jack; The Seed Pod; The Veining; Moonlight; In Process; Hypostasis

Hope E. Rapson, Another Look at Dorothy Sayer's Lost Tools of Learning

Kenneth W. Linsley, Astonishment at the Doctrine of the Lord (Part 1); Astonishment (Part 2); Astonishment (Part 3)

Kenneth W. Linsley was a pilot, an attorney, a pastor and an author. Read his account of his extraordinary mother here.