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.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Study on John 17

The world hates us because we don’t belong to the world. But Jesus doesn’t want the Father to take us out of the world, but only to be kept safe. We still have a task in the world.

Jesus’ prayer applies to us as well (17:20) And the love as well.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Study on John 16

Jesus warned them about persecution so that they won’t fall away. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.

The Orthodox and Catholics claim that this means that the Holy Spirit will prevent the church as a whole from straying into heresy -- the Orthodox says this Holy Spirit preservation happens when there are Ecumenical Councils (meetings where every recognized branch of the church send representatives, to decide on doctrinal issues), while the Catholics say that, in addition to Ecumenical Councils, the Holy Spirit will prevent the Pope from making any doctrinal mistake when speaking Ex Cathedra (making official doctrinal teaching).

What does it mean, if we don’t believe in these (Catholic & Orthodox) things? We can’t say it means that the Holy Spirit preserves individual Christians from error, because that’s clearly not the case. Many of us have experienced the Holy Spirit’s guidance, but we have also seen in both ourselves and in others where mistakes happen and someone thinks that it was the Holy Spirit’s guidance when it wasn’t. I honestly don’t have a good reply to the Catholics and Orthodox about this issue.

At the end of the chapter, he goes back to the topic of persecution. “You will be scattered” and “In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.”

Indeed, we can take courage -- it’s like watching a prerecorded game where we already know which side wins -- there may be trouble along the way, but the outcome is sure.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Study on John 15

15:2 “He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit.” Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! But so necessary. Yet we are always praying for a nice easy comfortable life. Hmm…

What does it mean to abide/remain in Christ? Part of it appears to be answered in 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you” -- having His Word in my life -- and 15:10 “If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.”

Here’s the balance between the fact that we don’t earn our salvation -- it’s paid for already by Jesus -- and the fact that obedience to God is central to the Christian life. We don’t earn God’s approval, but we will not have the abundant life if we don’t obey.

But we don’t obey like slaves, but as friends and children -- due to love. (15:9-17)

And don’t be surprised if the world hates us -- they hated Jesus first. (15:18-27)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Study on John 14

14:1-4 Jesus knew great tribulation was coming, so he reassured his disciples that in the end, they had an awesome home in eternity. This is the blessed hope that is why so many martyrs bravely faced torture and death, including every single one of the apostles that he was addressing, except John (and John did suffer torture though he survived and died of old age.)

14:5-14 Jesus is the way. We can believe because of the miracles he did. When we see Jesus, we’ve seen our Father in Heaven. And, somehow, we will perform even greater miracles!

I have seem small miracles (e.g. at the Supernatural Encounter last month), but I honestly can’t say I’ve seen greater miracles. Back when I was under the influence of dispensationalist Christians, they used to weasel out of this by saying that the greater miracle was the spreading of the Gospel.

14:15-31 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Clearly I don’t love Jesus enough! Since I still disobey every so often!

But thank God for the Advocate, indwelling us and leading us.

Satan has no power over Jesus -- similarly, has no power over us -- except what the Father permits.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Study on John 13

Washing the disciples feet: It’s a little odd that this didn’t become a regular practice in the church. (Except the pope does it once a year.) It’s a good reminder of what it means to be a leader in Christ.

13:21 Jesus was greatly distressed. Being fully God, Jesus knew he was going to suffer and be executed. Being fully human, Jesus felt the stress of his impending suffering and execution.

13:34 Loving one another is to characterize us as Christians. I fall so far short of this -- my selfish human nature keeps getting in the way. I need to learn as John the Baptist did, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Study on John 12

6 days before the Passover, Jesus again visits Mary, Martha & Lazarus. It was at this occasion that Mary anointed his feet with expensive nard and Judas acted indignant at the “waste”. Because of the miracle of raising Lazarus, many Jews were attracted to Jesus, so the Jewish leaders even wanted to kill Lazarus in addition to Jesus! I am struck by how often John reminds us that Jesus’ miracles only served to inflame the Jewish leaders -- so blinded were they.

After the Triumphal Entry, even at this time, there were Greeks who wanted to see Jesus (12:20). The Gospel is not for "our own people" only, but for all peoples.

“Now my soul is greatly distressed. And what should I say? ‘Father, deliver me from this hour’? No, but for this very reason I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Jesus didn't avoid suffering because it was necessary for his mission. How often do I not do my mission just to avoid suffering?

12:42-43 “Nevertheless, even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess Jesus to be the Christ, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”

Two things to note here:

First: there were actually many of the Sanhedrin who believed in Jesus. In fact, there were so many Pharisees who believed in Jesus that they became a problem for the early church -- they were the Judaizers that Paul argued against.

Secondly, how often do I hide my Christianity because of loving praise from men more than praise from God? Maybe not hiding our Christianity, but hiding our Bible-informed opinions? I personally know that I have refrained from voicing out objections to the homosexual agenda among my liberal American friends, because I knew I would be ridiculed.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Study on John 11

Jesus deliberately delayed going to see his good friend Lazarus so that a greater miracle would happen. Mary & Martha had to suffer first to have the greater joy later. But Mary & Martha really did suffer, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Previously Mary seemed the more spiritually matured one (when Martha complained that Mary was sitting at the Master’s feet instead of helping serve the food) but now Martha seemed to have learned her lesson, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will grant you.” Martha seemed to have the faith for Jesus to resurrect Lazarus even before the fact.

Jesus wasn’t immune to Mary & Martha’s suffering, however: here’s the shortest verse in the Bible: 11:35 Jesus wept.

I used to wonder, why did Jesus weep when he knew he was going to resurrect Lazarus presently? But then I listened to the Adventures In Odyssey episode when Connie was mourning over Mitch’s death, not realizing that Mitch was really alive and hidden by the FBI, and I felt myself tearing up over her sorrow. Maybe it’s like that -- Jesus had empathy with Mary’s suffering even though he knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead.

In this case, Mary & Martha saw in their lifetime why Jesus delayed, why Jesus allowed them to suffer first. Many a time we don’t see in this lifetime why God delayed, why God allows us to suffer, and we just have to trust that we have a loving yet omnipotent God and we can trust Him.

I find it interesting that the Bible affirms that Caiaphas, a bad high priest, had a true prophecy because God honoured his position in spite of his personal character. Reminds me of my Jesus-following Catholic friends’ assertion that the Holy Spirit still prevents the Pope from teaching officially any incorrect doctrine, even if the person holding that position may be a bad person.

Again, we see the theme of the Jewish leaders being so caught up in their own designs that they ignore a blatant miracle (this time, the raising of Lazarus) and become more determined to kill Jesus.