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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Prayers Not Answered? Why?

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Personal Prayers - Part I

Prayers can be like diamonds, both cut and uncut. Cut diamonds are of truly beautiful quality and treasured by all who possess them. Uncut diamonds are much like human beings; their present value is hidden in what they may become. They may become like jewels fit for a king’s crown, or they may be so flawed or uncut that are of no more worth than gravel under your feet. Prayers may be answered from heaven because they are cut and polished by a humble heart; prayers may go unanswered and fall dully into uselessness as only a prideful offering.

First of all, prayers like diamonds find their value according to who possesses and uses them. In the hands of legitimate owners, they find their full value. In the hands of thieves or ignorant owners, prayer is depreciated. Prayers may only find their value in their observable beauty. Written or liturgical prayers can be admired for linguistic beauty of thought and grammar, but until offered to God with heart meaning and passion their beauty is only on the written page or in oratory. When a king wears his diamond studded crown, he is glorified as the nation’s sovereign. So are worshipful prayers to God…that is prayers from the person that truly desires to lift up God’s worth.

“You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.” (Ps. 22:3 NASU).

Secondly, prayers, like diamonds, when used purposefully to get desirable and honorable results find their greatest value. Diamonds have found their usefulness when put into tools or instruments. There they can fashion tools that in turn find multiplied benefits or in instruments that communicate useful messages. The heart felt prayer that seeks forgiveness and exercises faith that changes the sinner from condemnation to being a son of God with eternal and earthly blessing finds its value in its eternal usefulness. Prayers that bring the assurances of a know so salvation (1 John 5:13) are like the beautiful engagement or wedding ring upon a bride’s finger showing that she belongs to a husband that loves her as himself. How beautiful is the assurance that Jesus is mine and I am his and will live with him in the glories of heaven!

Thirdly, prayer like diamonds can be used in ways that never taps the power of the great Answer Giver, so their value is not realized. When someone prays as a substitute for doing what they already know is God’s revealed will through Holy Scripture, they become depreciated. They even serve to deceive and dishonor those that use them. For example, the woman who prays with her husband and children, but refuses to give up an adulterous relationship deceives herself into believing God understands her human needs and weaknesses, while dishonoring her commitments to both her husband and children with her deceit and disobedience to God’s instructions in the Holy Bible. Also, the man who leads worship in his church and home, but lives an irreligious lifestyle at work, thinking that no one will discover his double life, denies his own sinfulness and undermines the value of his “religious” activities.

As diamonds given to a thief forfeit their value to their rightful owner, so prayers offered to the wrong personage present deceitful value; they become a rhinestone or zircon substitute because the object receiving the prayers is a substitute for the true God. God the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth made man to be inherently religious. “…Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:19, 20 NASU). However, Paul continues in the letter to the Romans to say personages, images, and even oneself when lifted up as somehow divine are idols, mere replacements for the One True God rejected by those who pray to them. Prayer sticks thrown at the foot of Buddha, candles lit as a prayer to a saint, or the kisses of a shrine bride of Krishna have no value because they are offered to a man’s imagined and devised divinities. Likewise the person who exalts himself…as a person…when he prays, places himself as a substitute by self-worship.

The Pharisee in Luke 18 prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get” (verses 11-12 NASU). He is the only one honored. This man bragged on himself and his prayers will not be answered prayer for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled” (verse 14 NASU). Yet, the tax collector prayed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” and Jesus declared him justified because of his humility before the Holy God (verse 13).

Related reading:  The Lieutenant's Godly Prayer; Praying the Psalms

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Assurance of a new glorified body!

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

The Sixth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection:
Assurance of a new glorified body!

The story is told that once a little boy approached his mother about the Genesis 3:19 which states “. . . the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” He asked if that was true. Thinking that this would be an opportunity to teach extend her son’s understanding of scripture, she responded, “Well, yes. God made us from the elements found in dust of the earth, and when we die, our bodies decay back into the elements of the earth again. Why do you ask?” The boy simply replied, “Well, there is someone coming or going under my bed!” Indeed, without Christ’s physical resurrection, the only physical future of humanity was to simply rot away while the spiritually lasting parts of our soul in whatever physical manifestation might be granted our unique selves, must endure the sufferings of Hell (Rev. 20:11-15).

However, now because of Christ’s physical resurrection, believers can look forward to having a resurrected physical body similar to Christ after He rose from the dead, one in which he was recognizable, cooked and served fish to his friends on the beach, taught and comforted, transported from one place to another, and was taken up into heaven in the front of many witnesses. What an incredible triumph he has promised to share with us!

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Thes. 4:16). "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). First Corinthians 15:47-49 states, "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Creation of the Universe: Examining the Biblical Evidence

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

A Latent Stumbling Block - Part VIII

Question 1: Are the Heavens and the Earth a united work of God (Genesis 1:1)? Were they both in existence before "the first day"? (Genesis 1:3-5 or 6-8).


A. The water and material earth existed before the "first day." How much time does the Scripture specify between Genesis1:1 and 1:3-5 or 1:1 and 1:6-8?

B. While no measurement is stated and, therefore, cannot be known, clearly "the first day" differed from the original creation in that darkness was changed to light.

Question 2: Did the creation consist of several instant happenings, when God gave the command or were there progressive steps? There were at least six happenings called "days" that happened separately and successively.


A. Read Job 38:4-16. What were the foundations versus doing other things in building the earth? This implies that this was a part of Gen 1:1 and took some time.

B. Read Isaiah 45:12. Were God’s creative works successive or done all at once?

". . have stretched out the heavens, . ." Implies a beginning followed by a time of "stretching" even as astronomers have observed by the expanding universe.

C. In Genesis 1:1-3, did the material earth exist before the ""first day of creation”? How is the ""first day"" described? Was it described as the first work of cosmic creation or simply the first change of an already existent material earth and heavens? Would the making of ""the foundations"" (Job 38:4-16) and "And the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters"" (Gen. 1:2), indicate that other work was being done before Genesis 1:9-13?

D. How does Jeremiah 10:12, 13, describe God’s creation of the heavens? As a process, for He didn’t make rain until the flood. Examine Genesis 2:5 and Genesis 7:4. Did God create, and, then develop, or was it one act? Would this imply that the heavens, the stars, and planets, had a beginning and that the hosts of heaven expanded. Even in creating humanity, did God create Adam and Eve in one act or did He create Adam, had him name all the animals, and then create Eve from Adam’s rib later in a second work of creation for her calling other than for Adam (Gen. 2:15; 3:17-19) and Eve (Gen. 2:18; 3:16).

E. What was His creative command like? When God utters His voice, how loud might it be? (Mat. 17:5, 6; Rev. 1:10-15; 21:3). Would His command to create be loud enough to possibly be called a "big bang?" 

Question 3: How many days does Genesis say God took to create the heavens and earth?

Answer: Read Genesis 2:4 and decide if it indicates one, six, or more. 

Question 4: How long were the days of making the earth to be a home for humans?


A. Read Genesis 1:1-2:4. In Genesis 1:5-31: approximately how many hours elapse from evening to morning? Was the day a 12 or a 24 day? From 8:00 AM. to 8:00 P.M. or was it 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 A.M.?

B. In Genesis 2:1-3, how long is the seventh day? What words describe its extent? Is it continuing? Is there a specified time period?

C. In Genesis 2:4, how long is this day of the creation of the heavens and the earth? Since this creation spans a period of time, the days of creation must be simply periods of time which are referred to by the term “day.”

D. How long is "the day of the Lord" found in Jeremiah 46:10? The context demands that "day" is simply a period of time allowing enough time for this instrument of war to occur. Therefore, Scripture uses the word "day," not as a literal 24 hours, but as just a period of time.

E. How long is the day of "Jacob’s trouble" found in Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Jeremiah 30:7, 8; 31:31- 33; Zechariah 13-14 and Revelations 7:4-14:1?

F. How long is a "day” according to Moses, the inspired writer of Genesis? According to King David in Psalm 90:1-4 and according to 2 Peter 3:8? The only choices are a 24 hour day or a 1,000 days or an undisclosed amount of time.

Question 5: In view of these uses of the word "day," how long must we interpret "day" to be in Genesis 1?


A. In view of verses 5, 8, 13, 18, 23, 31 and 2:4, it can be 12, or 24 hours or just an unspecified period of time in the context of God’s time, especially since God has shown that He does not hurry like humans to do anything.

B. In his Hebrew Lexicon, Gesenius indicates discussion that "day" is an indefinite period of time the length of which varies according to its context. For Genesis 2:4, the period is the creation of the heaven and earth (pages 341 and 342).

C. Peter the Apostle wrote clearly, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:8, 9)

Question 6: Psalm 19 points out that creation shouts God’s glory, should we not interpret it to help reveal God? Or should we insist on this recent idealistic interpretation become a destructive tool for Satan’s tool box?


A. It is well known that unbelieving teachers in secular universities use the 6/24 hour day interpretation of the creation in Genesis 1 to discredit the Bible as God‘s trustworthy Word. They use it to destroy the faith of young Christians. The teaching of a six twenty-four day creation constitutes a latent stumbling block.

Question 7: Should the Bible teacher embrace the possible, i.e. that Almighty God could have created the universe in six 24 hours days, with how He did create the universe?

Answer: Insistence upon a doctrine which is subject to interpretation when the faith of young or ungrounded believers is in the balance causes great difficulties. Christ Himself said, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Mat. 18:6)

Related reading: Stumbling Block I: A Shocking Statistic; Stumbling Block II: Contending for the Faith; Latent Stumbling Block III: A Historic Battle; Latent Stumbling Block IV: The Spiritual Battle; Latent Stumbling Block V: Satanic StrategiesLatent Stumbling Block VI: Defining Orthodoxy; Latent Orthodoxy VII: Principles Determining Interpretation

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Praying Psalm 4: Let me be approved of Thee

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Psalm 4

"Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness:
thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress;
have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." (Verse 1)

O my Father, I give praise and thanksgiving for the reason to seek godliness which you have presented in this Psalm. All human beings desire acceptance by someone. Those who seek acceptance from men find the effort to be like quick sand. The more they seek it; the more they sink into insecurity and deterioration of values. When I seek the approval of another for my sense of self worth and self acceptance, I am influenced to accept their values and frame of reference. I find myself being tempted and falling into sin and selfishness. Lord, without you I can get mired down into corrupting compromise, but when I seek you for my self-worth and self acceptance, freedom and character building results. You are holy, righteous, and in love you accept sinners through Christ. In doing so, those who seek your approval are changed, not only by the desire to please you, but by the gift of your enabling Spirit. Your Holy Spirit imparts the life and character of the Lord Jesus to all who seek you and your righteousness in Him (2 Corinthians 3:17, 18).

O the joy, and sense of acceptance from you, and therefore, of myself. You inspired David to say that you have "…set apart…for yourself …him that is godly" (verse 3a). O, what security the godly find in you. Because of this, we can expect you to hear when we cry for mercy and deliverance in times of need. In this way, those who have become righteous through Jesus can claim acceptance in their own view as well.

Beyond the joy and acceptance that a person feels in the acceptance of one's mate, is joy when you "…lift up the light of your countenance upon us" (verse 6)! O the peace that is added in knowing we are "…accepted in the Beloved" both now and forever (Eph. 1:3-14).

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
For He will show me the path of life,
And in His presence is fullness of joy,
And at His right hand, pleasures forever more!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Fifth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

A fifth triumph of His resurrection: God-given power for living!

Before Christ’s resurrection human beings had no power over sin: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh…” (Rom. 8:3) This is why Israel failed so miserably in spite of the Ten Commandments and the Temple sacrifices, and Gentiles, with even less revelation of God, had even less reason, let alone strength to discipline their sinful impulses. However, now that Jesus is alive, we have access to the same power displayed in his rising Him from the dead. We “… may know him, and the power of his resurrection…” (Phil. 3:10)

 Christ's resurrection has become both the source of forgiveness and eternal life, and also the power for overcoming life’s temptations and troubles by faith dependence upon Christ. "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5) To remain and maintain a constant and consistent relationship with Christ, allows us to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit in us. Romans 6:4-5 explains and exhorts us "as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life; for if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." 

 We can then firmly declare, as did Paul, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4:13)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Principles Determining Interpretation

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

A Latent Stumbling Block – Part VII

The goal of the following expositional study is to stimulate the reader to find approval from God in examining the Scripture concerning when God created the earth and universe. Be a Berean disciple: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

The first principle to apply to biblical interpretation is that it must be consistent with the attributes and character of God.

1. He is perfect and complete in His being; He is God Almighty (Jeremiah 32:27).

2. He cannot be contrary to what He is (2 Tim. 2:13). Therefore he cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and he cannot change (Mal. 3:6). Seeming contradictions are a challenge to understand more completely (James 1:5–8).

3. He is sovereign, in the things He does and in His choices (Luke 22:42).

4. He is not confined to time and/or space; He dwells in eternity (Is, 57:15). Time and space are His creation and only exist according to His will and plan (Rev. 1:5). Therefore, He is not in a hurry in what He does (Gal 4:4). There is no need to have a quick creation of 6/24 hour days."He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." (Eccl.3:11; 2 Peter 3:9).

The second principle that should be applied to biblical interpretation is the evidences of how God uses terms of time in the Bible as a whole:

1. God waited 4000+ years to fulfill His promise of Christ coming as the seed of the woman to crush Satan‘s head.

2. God waited 25+ years to fulfill His promise of giving Isaac to Abraham.

3. God waited 430 years to fulfill His promise to give the Holy Land to Israel

4. God waited 70 years to refine Judah from idolatry and return a remnant to reestablish Judah as a nation.

5. God waited 400+ years to fulfill His promise of John the Baptist’s ministry.

6. The Father waited 30 years from His conception to establish Jesus’ ministry of redemption.

7. After 2000 years, we are still waiting for Christ’s promised return.

8. The Holy Spirit inspired both Moses and the Apostle Peter to say: “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Ps. 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

The third principle of biblical interpretation is to honestly ask, “What exactly does the Scripture say?” Throughout Scripture, both the wording and context must be discerned to know if a unit of time is according the word’s literal meaning, or simply a period of time. God does use time terms as symbols. The biblical student must ask questions such as these:

1. In Daniel 9:24-27, are “weeks” literally a period of 7/24 hour days?

2. In Deuteronomy 28:32, “the day” is not a 24 hour period of time in which Israel will be taken captive as a part of Israel’s worldwide dispersion (v 64). 
3. Is “the day of evil” spoken of in Jeremiah 17:17, 18, just a 24 hour day?

And the many other “days of judgment” are periods of time, but longer than 24 hours as in the phrase “the day of the LORD” (Matt.10:15; 11:22; Rom. 2:16, Zeph. 1:14-18).

4. In 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8, is Paul speaking of a 24 hour period or spiritual character? 

5. Is the word “hour” used about Christ’s time ordained in His life just 60 minutes (Mark 14:41-15:38)?

Are you, the reader, willing to obey the admonition of the Scripture? “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).Will you use God’s spiritual weapons? “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4, 5). “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” (Titus 1:14).The spiritual assault, from the Garden of Eden to the creation of the new universe, has always been humans substituting their thoughts at the expense of God’s Word.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Defining Orthodoxy

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

A Latent Stumbling Block– Part VI

Too often secular leaders used different groups of the Reformers as instruments to be free from Roman Catholic domination. They used Augustine's replacement theology as found in one of his books, The City of Our God, by copying Israel's theocratic government for Christianity to establish state Churches. State churches became their own little gods, i.e., dictating that the people of that political entity must believe and do their will. Henry VIII started the Church of England to get the divorces he wanted. Secular princes embraced some of the Reformer's systematic theologies and would make them the orthodoxy of their states. This was a general origin of many modern-day denominations. Often Scripture is simply used to justify and sanctify traditional Church doctrine. This is simply a form of Satan's suggestion to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In this way, the theologian asserts himself as a little god. To avoid this, there is no substitute to “thus says the Scripture.”

Even professed Fundamentalists, have fallen from Sola Scriptura. This is done through idealism to ease the rigors of diligent Bible research, application, and full circle discipleship. The cry of many evangelicals against “Easy believeism” has been loud, yet too often practiced. Philosophical idealism has too often overshadowed thorough and full application of the demands of Scripture, especially from the original texts. With the availability of scholarly helps, the lack of knowledge is no excuse. In seeking to discern God’s truth, the Apostle’s admonition should be heard: “…speaking the truth in love, may grow up . . . Till we all come in the unity of the faith , and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (mature) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:” (Eph. 4:15, 13).

The Apostle Paul summarizes the attitude of Scripture, when he wrote: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21). He also points out the means of spiritual victory: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4, 5). Paul was not being idealistic by exhorting Timothy to gain God’s approval when he wrote: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NASU).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Satanic Strategies

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

A Latent Stumbling Block – Part V

When one examines carefully the strategies of Satan in his temptation, one can see that he works in three points today.

1. Satan asks an idealistic question about the privileges God had given Adam and Eve. “Yea, hath God said...?” (Gen 3:1) Eve answered with what Adam had taught her. He had received it from God, but she added an additional caution--- not even to touch the forbidden fruit.

2. Then, Satan denies the consequences of disobedience: "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen 3:4) laying down the seeds of rational doubt within the human mind, and the possibility of an alternative view.

3. He follows up with an appeal to personal loss by asserting that God was denying their future privileges and pleasures. Satan asserts their fullness of pleasure and privilege would come from the disobedience of unbelief. This is Satan's gospel: "Be as you want to be; be your own god!" Satan’s character, gospel and human rationalism are found in the attitude: "This is so, because my (or human) reasoning says so!"
Throughout the ages Satan uses these strategies against all things of God in contrast with God's call to man is to bring about the obedience of faith into his character (Rom. 1:5; 16:25, 26; John 10:27; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17). It is this trust and obedience hand in hand that evidences rebirth (1 Peter 1:23) and a living functional relationship with Christ (John 10:27).

However, satanic strategies are applied to many philosophical frames of reference through which people do their thinking. Even in the Reformation, the professed philosophy of "Sola Scriptura," that is, only Scripture as the rule of faith was not consistently followed. How objectively reliable are professed Bible scholars who say that babies are regenerated by baptism and that it must be by pouring or sprinkling? (John 3) How consistent is it with scripture to insist that believers need priests to mediate between them and God when 1Timothy 2:5 tells us that there is but one Mediator between humans and God, the Lord Jesus Christ?
Yet, many base the earth’s age on the work of two Church of England priests that taught that the earth is only about 6000 years old. How reliable is the bombasts of those that preach, make DVDs, and discredit even the salvation of those that disagree? Even one of their own progenitors, Dr. Henry Morris, wrote in a footnote in his book: Studies in the Bible and Science that the creation of man could be around 15,000 B.C. (17,000 years ago) (Footnote 2, 1969 ed. 30).

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Spiritual Battle

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

A Latent Stumbling Block – Part IV

The earth and human experience has been from the very first a stage of spiritual warfare. Indeed, after God rested from his work to make the earth suitable for mankind, Satan appears on the scene as an already fallen creature. His original name was Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12). He had been a "covering cherub," (Ezekiel 28:16). However, Satan had fallen from that exalted status. He had taken his eyes off God. Instead he focused on his own God- given excellent qualities, that he became filled with all consuming pride.

He tried to become a god in competition with his Creator (Is. 14:12–14). This filled heaven with contention. The angels were forced to choose. Indeed, a third of the angels was deceived and followed Satan (Rev. 12:4, 7)! To this day, he possesses angels who war in heaven and on Earth against God (Jude 6; Rev 12:7-9) and human beings (Luke 8:26-39). 

After God made Adam, or mankind, to be under sovereigns of the earth, the first scene of mankind's sovereignty was one of lost spiritual warfare. Satan appears as a subordinate creature, as a smart aleck snake that could talk, but subordinate to man because God had made man to be the sovereign over all things on earth. Satan gained control of the world when Adam, the world’s ruler, surrendered to Satan’s temptation. However, that is not the end of the story.

By God creating and redeeming man through Christ, God is demonstrating that He is able to take man, who begins as one who has nothing of which Satan could boast and transform him into more than Satan hoped to be. In doing so, redeemed men, as the Church, are God’s instruments to teach the heavenly beings (Eph. 3:10).