Daddy blog

I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
I also have a general blog.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Resurrection of Israel - the Israel of God

14/7/2018

Ezekiel 37

This is the passage telling about the Valley of Dry Bones. It is about the restoration of Israel after the exile. Israel was dead and dismembered, conquered, taken to exile. Yet God promised to do an amazing thing - to resurrect the nation. Like dry bones forming flesh and coming back to life, that was what Israel was going to experience.

From verse 1 till verse 23, it looks as if the prophecy has almost 100% come true -- and Israel would not return to idolatry as a nation -- even to the point of extremism in this respect.

But verse 24 onward seem to not have come true. They were never ruled by David's line again -- except in the sense that Zerubbabel ben Shealtiel was made governor by the Persians, but that was just for a short while, not "forever".

So actually, this was not fulfilled in its entirety until and unless you consider Galatians 6:12-16. "Israel" is no longer the circumcision of the flesh, but rather, the circumcision of the heart. And the Son of David rules over this "Israel of God" forever.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A prayer for Malaysia

In light of the upcoming election, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship has issued this  21.21.21 call for prayer.

Around the same time, the Watoto Children's Choir came to Malaysia and I heard them sing this song. It touched me so much, especially since it was so in line with the sentiments of the call for prayer.
Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored, may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
- Matthew 6:10
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
- 2 Chronicles 7:14


For the full lyrics & chords, see this page.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Piercing a Pair of Puzzling Parables

25/2/2018

Luke 11:5-13 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[b] a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

This morning's sermon by Elder Tan Beng Teong included this passage, as well as Luke 18:1-8, the Parable of the Unjust Judge and the Persistent Widow.

Elder Beng had a very enlightening take on these two parables. See How Jesus pointed out that God is a loving Father and surely wants to give good gifts to us?

So he's actually contrasting God with the bad judge and the casual friend. The bad judge and the casual friend only helped when they were pestered into it. God, on the other hand, is a loving Father, so He would help when it is appropriate. He wouldn't withhold help from us when needed.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Thoughts on John 6

21/1/12018

John 6:5-6 When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do.

Sometimes God asks seemingly impossible things of us to stretch our faith -- and He already has a solution ready for us to stretch our faith into.

John 6:26-27 Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free. Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”

The balance is so hard sometimes because I see the temporal needs so clearly, while I see the eternal much more dimly.

John 6:52-58 At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?” But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”

I find it interesting that Jesus didn't quickly say, “I only meant eat my flesh and drink my blood metaphorically, not literally.” Non-anabaptist Christians (Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Reformed, Catholics, Orthodox, etc.) all believe in some form or another of the true presence of the Body of Christ in the bread and wine. I'm partial to that belief, but at the same time, I'm not sure if this passage is referring to that, because it is so far removed from the Last Supper. On the other hand, I'm hard-pressed to think of how Jesus meant it otherwise, since people were turning away from the idea of eating his actual flesh and drinking his actual blood, yet he didn't say anthing to disabuse them of that notion.

Indeed, even many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.” (verse 60) and even after this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. (verse 66)

Friday, January 19, 2018

I could be wrong

19/1/2018

S: John 5:1-18

O: The man who had been disabled for 38 years lying by the pool of Bethesda had a fixed idea about how he could be healed. But Jesus came and healed him a different way.

The Jewish leaders had their own ideas about what was Godly or ungodly, and Jesus' healing on the Sabbath didn't fit their ideas, so they sought to kill him.

A: I have many convictions about right and wrong and what's Biblical and not Biblical and what's spiritually correct and what's not spiritually correct, from many years of being a Christian, listening to Christian teaching, and reading the Bible for myself.

And yet... those Jewish leaders also had something similar. Yet they were so wrong about Jesus. And even the man who couldn't walk had his own ideas that Jesus broke.

I recognize the danger of not holding convictions. That's the way of heresy, and going off into spurious unbiblical beliefs. But there is also the other side of being too sure of your own interpretations and not being open to correction.

It's a fine line to walk, and we need to be walking with Christ and to be guided by the Holy Spirit in a community that is likewise walking with Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit. And none of us are perfect, and we make mistakes.

P: Father, help me be humble even in my firm convictions in Your doctrines, and be open to Your correction. In Jesus' name, amen.


Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Setting boundaries further back from the edge of sin

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

A Christian friend in USA pointed out that there is a scandal with megachurch pastor Andy Savage right now.

20 years ago, he was a youth pastor, and he was supposed to take this pretty teenager home, and ended up molesting her.

The girl testified, "After what I believe to have been about 5 minutes of this going on, he suddenly stopped, got out of the truck and ran around the back and to my side before falling to his knees. I quickly buttoned my shirt back up and got out of the truck. Now I was terrified and ashamed. I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, ‘Oh my god, oh my god. What have I done? Oh my god, I’m so sorry. You can’t tell anyone Jules, please. You have to take this to the grave with you.’  He said that several times. My fear and shame quickly turned to anger. I had just been manipulated and used. I swore to him I wouldn’t tell anyone just to get him to stop. We both got back in the truck. As he drove me home, I don’t remember there being any conversation. I was in shock."

Clearly, he was remorseful immediately. But unfortunately, when the girl went to the senior pastor, they chose to hide it instead of dealing with it and the girl dropped out of church.

Now, 20 years later, it is a major scandal and a police case.

I don't know about you, but I can so much understand Andy Savage's actions. While I have never even come close to doing anything like that, I have struggled with pornography and I can totally understand that craziness of giving in to temptation and immediately feeling remorse.

But we "good Christian men" must remind ourselves that Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. We must be on guard, and avoid any such situation.

When the secular media found out that Vice President Mike Pence would never dine alone with a woman who is not his wife, they went to town making fun of him.

I am no fan of Donald Trump, and I have my doubts about his vice president, but in this matter, I can totally understand his caution.

Mike Pence will never be in the position Andy Savage is in if he keeps to rules like that.

I'm not quite as absolutist as Mike Pence, but I think setting boundaries is very important. Not that if you cross those boundaries, it's sin -- but the idea is that the boundaries are far away enough from sin that if you slip up, you still haven't sinned.