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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Celebration and a Prayer Request

Ed Lundwall's hat
Retired Combat Chaplain

Distinctive Discipleship, the blog of retired Army Chaplain Edward F. Lundwall, Jr., celebrates a two-year anniversary. That's no small feat! The average lifespan of the top U.S. blogs is 33.8 months, according to this 2006 report. Distinctive Discipleship is just getting started!

He and his late wife, Marionette, have three children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. They were missionaries for nine years. 

Ed pastored Disciple Baptist Church in Chattannooga, Tennessee, a laboratory effort to study Biblical discipleship and how to apply it to the Church. He holds a B.S., a M.RE, and a M.Div degree and is a freelance writer specializing in discipleship.

This blog contains a great deal of helpful information on discipleship, edifying devotions, and excellent Bible studies. You can find something you might need by using the INDEX.

Thanks for reading, folks!

Please pray for Edward who has been having some heart problem recently.

Related reading: Launching a Blog About Discipleship

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What it Means to Be Saved

Jesus said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." John 10:9-15

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

     “I’m Saved!”

“What do you mean?”

     “I went forward at the invitation!”

     “I prayed the sinner’s prayer!”

     “I asked the Lord Jesus into my heart!”

But did you leave your heart’s door open long enough for Him to come in? Are you letting Him establish Himself as your Great Shepherd in your life?

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:17

Are you letting Him speak and lead you in your life’s choices?

By seeking His will: “Teach me thy way , O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: . .” Psalm 86:11

By faith not reasoning: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6

Does your spiritual life come from His Word?

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." 1 Peter 1:23

Do you treasure His directions to keep from doing things that displease Him?

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes." Psalm 119:11, 12

Do you consider the Bible His love letter and His manual for the abundant life Jesus offers? 

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim 17).

Which of His promises do you depend upon for forgiveness and eternal life? 

If you cannot think of three, how can you say that you have treasured His Word in your heart? If you cannot recall one and show how it applies to your life, who are you depending upon? God’s Word, or the creed of your religious organization, or the philosophy of the world’s “good man upstairs?”

The Bible says: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13

How are you applying the Lord Jesus’ invitation and warning?

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke/Galatians

If you would like a fellowship that shepherds people to be definite in applying God’s promises (Matt 28:20a), let them show you how, starting from where you are. Too many Churches only give piecemeal insights into Scripture. Are they structuring their discipleship training to achieve spiritual completeness?

“A disciple is not above his teacher , but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:

Related reading: Sheep Cotes as Sacred Places; Psalm 23: Daily Living With the Good Shepherd

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Radiance of Christ's Glory

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, . .” Hebrews 1:1 - 3a NKJV

Father, I thank and praise You that the Lord Jesus is “the radiance of your glory!" Therefore, He gives vision of You as our light. Light which no natural man can approach.

Some have said that He is not Emmanuel, God with us. But if they could only see Him as He was on the Mount of Transfiguration, they would see the radiance of your glory. Then, they could only say that they saw You. For Jesus is the divine, radiant light of Your Person, Father Almighty. The fullness of deity. What men would see if they saw You, the fullness of deity. Oh, Father how great You are in the fullness of who Jesus reveals you to be!

I praise You that in His revelation, the light shed upon Mankind was so much greater. The revelation in and through the Lord Jesus Christ outshines the limitations of prior revelations as the brilliance of the sun outshines a searchlight! For when men saw Him, they saw You through the veil of His flesh. Then, though the cloud of His human body, but in Heaven, His glory will out shine the suns of the universe.

Another Praise:
This pictures the Lord Jesus as Your eternal Word. The phrase before portrays him as effulgence what can be seen as the photons (light particles) of the sun. It is Your essence illuminating what you are, Your very unchangeable substance. Jesus as the expression of your essence -- as the “ I am the Lord, I change not." He is the form Job wished to see in his resurrected body. He wanted his confession carved in stone and filled with a lead unchangeable form forever.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Dangers of Emotional Compulsion

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Today there is much talk about obsessions and compulsions: cutting, gorging on food, ritual hand washing, addictions, etc. It is clear that many lack control of their thoughts and emotions. However, emotional control is essential for effective Christian discipleship. It reveals spiritual maturity.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, . .” (Jer 17:9, 10).

Emotion can cause us to exchange reality for what one chooses to believe. Natural compulsions drive us to satisfy desires beyond the limits ordained by God (Gen 3:1-6). In following Satan’s suggestion that they could be as God, they became like Satan. They rejected God’s Word and the One who rewards those who seek Him (Heb 11:6). As history testifies this led to perverted expressions corrupting their lives (Gal 6:7, 8a).

Godly meditation in God’s Word with separation from ungodly influences (Ps 1:1-4) are spiritual weapons to have a godly emotional control. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

"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).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:1, 2).

 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Emotions are subject to suggestion. Therefore we must guard the mind from ungodly suggestions. To love Christ we must exercise our minds and by choice our wills. This is the reason for Bible study, fellowship with believers, daily devotions, and worship.

The disciple must learn to hate sin, and avoid its dangers and solicitations. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled..."

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Rom 6:13).

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” ( 2 Cor 13:5).

The disciple must overcome compulsions that compromise the Gospel witness. 

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3).

This is how the disciple must live until "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph 4:13-15).

Monday, July 6, 2015

Why I Volunteered

Excerpt from the Reverend Edward F. Lundwall’s 
Memoirs as a Combat Chaplain

Vietnam. Why would anyone leave a comfortable pulpit to participate in the Army Chaplaincy in those troubling times? Why put one’s self in harm’s way facing death and the difficulties of combat conditions in a steamy, booby-trapped jungle of Southeastern Asia?....I was overwhelmed with compassion for the soldiers who were or would soon be facing death to stop the spread of atheistic Communism which threatened both our country, and the Christian faith.

Many people possess a generalized, cultural faith which lacks both the biblical content and heartfelt commitment necessary for a certain salvation. Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does (lifestyle practice) the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter" (Matt 7:21 NASU); and again, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31, 32 KJV). My heart’s desire to proclaim God’s Word in such a way to our troops that they if they should die, they would face the Lord as their Savior, and not as their Judge. I wanted them to have the peace available to all who sought forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Christ.