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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Idols in hearts

31/8/11 Ezekiel 12-14; Revelation 5

S: Ezekiel 13:4-6 Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord, will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves. I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.’ Therefore, tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins.’

Revelation 5:8-10 And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

O: Some leaders of Israel had come to see Ezekiel, but God revealed to him that in spite of their pious exterior, they had idols in their hearts. These are not explicit idols that are obvious to see like those who had altars to wood or stone idols, but they are just as dangerous because they also mean that one is serving something else rather than God.

On the other hand, if we truly worship God, as per the Revelation passage, our prayers are like gold bowls of incense before God. Christ has ransomed us by His blood and we are now a kingdom of priests for God from every people group.

A priest is someone who mediates between God and people, so as a kingdom of priests, we now represent God to people and also we can intercede for people before God.

A: We can fall into the trap of having idols in our hearts. So we must examine our motives -- what motivates us? Is it to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves? Or is it something else?

In an earlier meditation, I noted,
As middle-classed Chinese Malaysian Christians, sometimes we’re too “middle classed Chinese Malaysian” and not Christian enough. At a recent Chinese New Year gathering of Christians, during the Yee Sang they were doing the traditional blessing for the children, that they may do well in school and get good jobs, etc. when I chipped in, “And that they may be sold out for Jesus and become missionaries to Africa, etc.!” and people looked at me amazed.

If our children grow up to become successful business people or scholars, etc. but abandon the Lord, we have failed in our jobs as parents! But if they never go to university, but are totally sold out for Jesus, if they never earn much money but live a life that draws many to Him, if they become penniless missionaries in Nigeria or wherever, then they would really be successful in the eternal perspective!
Whenever we put something above loving God and loving the people He has created, we have put an idol in our hearts.

Let's tear down those idols! Then we can be truly the kingdom of priests God has called us to be.

P: Father, I know I don't live up to this ideal. Time and time again, my motivations fall short, but thank You that repentance is possible! In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Lion, The Ox, The Man and the Eagle

30/8/11 Ezekiel 8-11; Revelation 4

No SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) today because I don't have an application for these passages, but I noticed that today's reading of Ezekiel and the reading of Revelation has similar weird angelic beings:

Ezekiel 10:9-14 looked, and each of the four cherubim had a wheel beside him, and the wheels sparkled like beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. The cherubim could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. They went straight in the direction they faced, never turning aside. Both the cherubim and the wheels were covered with eyes. The cherubim had eyes all over their bodies, including their hands, their backs, and their wings. I heard someone refer to the wheels as “the whirling wheels.” Each of the four cherubim had four faces: the first was the face of an ox, the second was a human face, the third was the face of a lion, and the fourth was the face of an eagle.

Revelation 4:6-8 In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal. In the centre and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—
the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

I'm not sure what the significance of these faces are. Various people have various theories, e.g.
  • Judah - Lion
  • Reuben - man
  • Ephraim - ox
  • Dan - eagle
from Darrin Yeager's website and
  • Matthew is the Man. The Man is Humane.
  • Mark is the Lion. The Lion is Bold.
  • Luke is the Ox. The Ox is Sturdy.
  • John is the Eagle. The Eagle is far-seeing.
from Miguel Guhlin's web page.

Anyway, do feel free to comment if you have insight into this.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Healingly hot, refreshingly cold.

29/8/11 Ezekiel 4-7; Revelation 3

S: Revelation 3:15-21 15 I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realise that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. o I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.

O: The Spirit of God gave John messages for the seven churches of Asia. The Church of Laodicea had grown lukewarm over the years -- they thought they were still spiritually rich, but in actual fact, they were spiritually impoverished.

The imagery here being used is based on the water supply of the city -- Laodicea's water is from the confluence of the healing hot springs of Hierapolis and the cold fresh springs of Colossae. The resultant water was drinkable but quite disgusting, hence the imagery of spitting it out of the mouth.

A: We often use verse 20 as an evangelistic verse to share the Gospel with non-Christians, but in context it is actually addressed to Christians! How terrible it is that Jesus is standing outside the door of the Christians' life! Let us quickly repent and invite Him back in!

We must not be lukewarm -- I find this a danger in my own life as I go through the daily grind of life. We need to be always hot for God, like delicious hot food that satisfies, or refreshing like a cold drink on a hot day.

P: Father, keep me refreshingly cold and healingly hot. May I not drift into moribund lukewarmness. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Share the Gospel without coercion

28/8/11 Ezejuek 1-2; Revelation 2

S: Ezekiel 3:16-21 After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.

“If righteous people turn away from their righteous behaviour and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”

O: When we share the Gospel, some people will receive it and be saved, and some people will not receive it and will not be saved.

Our responsibility is to share God's message -- it is not our responsibility to make people follow Christ. In fact, it is not possible to force people to follow Christ. God looks for true heart change, not for outward compliance.

We have heard the accusation against Christians in India that we "force" people to become "rice Christians" by our charitable works, hence the "need" for anti-conversion laws. Now in the wake of the pro-democracy unity between Muslims and Christians in Malaysia, the government-controlled press is trying to make this accusation here.

But it its totally unchristian and pointless from a spiritual standpoint to try to force a person to become a Christian outwardly without a change of heart. If a person just goes through the motions of Christianity in order to benefit from Christian charity without the heart change, the person is not a Christian. So Christian relief and charitable organisations are totally against this practice.

There was a time in my university life where a pretty non-Christian girl and I had a lot of mutual attraction, and she started coming to all sorts of Christian events with me. But at one point, I had to cut it off because she would not be a true Christian if she converted only for the sake of the romance. I struggled with how to share this with her without motivating her to make a profession of faith without that true change of heart. (We managed to part as friends, thank God.)

A: We need to always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks for the reason for the hope that is in us. We must share the Gospel in season and out of season. But we must leave it to the person whether to receive Christ or not -- we cannot make them.

P: Father, help me to be a good and winsome witness for Your way of salvation. Keep me encouraged and motivated even when I do not see the fruit with my own eyes. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Once And Future King

27/8/11 Jeremiah 52; Revelations 1; Psalm 143-144

S: Revelations 1:7-8
Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
Yes! Amen!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”

O: The Gospels show us Jesus in His earthly ministry, but the Apocalypse (The Revelation to John) shows us the Risen and Transcendent Christ. This book gives us a view of Christ as He is in eternity, glorious and triumphant.

The Son was the Creator of the world -- in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. But He humbled Himself as a man, and did not look like a king when He came as a baby born of peasants.

But He doesn't remain in that way -- He rose again, and He reigns forever in the heavenly realms in glory! Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

A: Since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

We are children of the King! Let us live that way!

P: When we are beset by the evil forces of the world, Father, remind us of Who You are and how great a Saviour You have given us! In Jesus' name, amen!

Steadfast in Christ

26/8/11 Jeremiah 50-51; 3 John

S: Jeremiah 51:18-19 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israelt is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

O: For 49 chapters, Jeremiah declared that the Lord was handing Judah over to the Babylonians and that the Babylonians would be victorious. But now suddenly, we find Jeremiah predicting the future fall of the Babylonian empire to the Persians. And even before that, Nebuchadnezzar would have to humble himself before the Lord, as we can read in Daniel 4.

A: As Paul pointed out in Romans 8:31-39, if God is for us, who can be against us? We are more than conquerors, even while the world considered us as sheep to be slaughtered. Nothing can separate us from the love of God!

So, when we face opposition to our following Christ, we can and must stand firm. Christ is King! We do not have to fear those who can merely kill the body, but not the soul. (Matthew 10:28)

P: Father, strengthen us to be steadfast in Christ. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

God's place in our hearts

24/8/11 Jeremiah 33-34; Psalm 74; 1 John 5

S: 1 John 5:11-13, 18, 21 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. ... We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. ... Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.

O: What a wonderful gift God has given us! His Son gives us life, eternal life!

A: In response, we must not make a practice of sinning. Jesus already holds us securely, and the devil can no longer touch us. So we no longer have to sin! So let us keep away from anything that might take God's place in our hearts!

If, however, you give in to temptation and sin, remember God has a way of forgiveness for us, as noted in the reading from Saturday.

P: Father, thank You for your wonderful gift of eternal life! I love you and I want to live for you! In Jesus' name, amen!

As I have loved you

23/8/11 Jeremiah 31-32; 1 John 4

S: 1 John 4:9-11, 20-21 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. ... If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

O: This echoes Jesus' commandment, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) and “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

We love because He first loved us. He showed us His love first, while we were still His enemies. In response, we love Him back, and love each other.

A: It's easy to love loveable people, but some people, it's really hard to love. We all know people whom it's hard to love. Yet God loved us while we were still sinners and His enemies. As children of God, we have to learn to love like our Father loves.

P: Father, it is so hard to love everyone. None of us do it perfectly like You do, but Father, as we walk with you day by day, take us baby step by baby step closer and closer to Your ideal. Even as I read the atrocities committed by the people in power, I still have to remember that You takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather, You want them to repent (Ezekiel 18:23). I pray for the repentance of these evil people in power now, and I pray for Your Spirit to enable me to love them even as You love them, as well as other people that I find hard to love. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Holiness = not living in sin

22/8/11 Jeremiah 28-30; 1 John 3

S: 1 John 3:4-10 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.

Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

O: Yesterday we saw John teaching us that Holiness ≠ No sin, but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Today we see the balance of that message of grace, however -- we cannot claim to know God and continue to live in sin. Sin is incompatible with God, so if we want Jesus to live in us, how can we continue to live in sin?

Yes, we are still not perfect, but neither are we to continue in our old ways. Because we are still imperfect, we will still sin, but we must not keep on in that sin, but must confess quickly and repent and get back right with God. If we are insensitive to sin, then it calls into question whether we are truly born of the Spirit or not.

For example, a homosexual who gets saved would still feel the attraction and temptation, and might still give in to temptation. But if one is like Rev. Ouyang revelling in one's sin, then it calls into question whether one is truly in Christ.

A: We need to call sin sin, even if we are still tempted and give in. We must repent quickly and keep short accounts with God.

P: Father, keep me from sin. If I do sin, may I quickly repent and get back in Your path of righteousness. Thank You for Your grace by which I'm saved. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Holiness ≠ No sin

20/8/11 Jeremiah 48-49; Psalm 67; 1 John 1

S: 1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practising the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

O: Jesus told us that we have to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

But all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and even after we become Christians, we still sin (Romans 7:13-25)

A: In these 6 verses, John shows the balance. We must not persist in our sins, but when we do give in to temptation and sin, we must quickly confess our sins and get back on a right track with God. We must not wallow in our sins.

P: Father, I confess my sins to you. Thank you for your grace to forgive me of my sins. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Repeat lesson

19/8/11 Jeremiah 45-47; Psalm 105; John 21

S: John 21:18-22 (Jesus said to Peter) “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” So the rumour spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

O: Just yesterday, we learned the lesson that God chooses some people to be martyrs and some to live till natural death at an old age. Nonetheless, both types of believers are loved by God and will live with Him in eternity.

A: It appears that we're getting the same lesson again as yesterday. Many times God repeats lessons to us because we don't internalise things the first time we learn it, and sometimes we need refresher courses.

P: Father, help us to internalise the things You teach us so that we become more and more conformed to the image of Christ. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some are to be Martyrs

18/8/11 Jeremiah 26-36; John 20

S: Jeremiah 26:20-23 At this time Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim was also prophesying for the LORD. And he predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and nation as Jeremiah did. When King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent someone to kill him. But Uriah heard about the plan and escaped in fear to Egypt. Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah. They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim. The king then killed Uriah with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave.

O: In an earlier reading, we saw how God had promised to protect Jeremiah physically. However, Uriah ben Shemaiah didn't receive the same promise although he was giving the same prophecies from the LORD as Jeremiah did.

A: As Habakkuk observed, even if things are not working out temporally like we want, we have to trust God anyway.

Why did God chose James to be martyred but his brother John to live to old age? We don't know the big picture. But we know that God loves us and is still in control. Uriah was martyred, Jeremiah was not. James was martyred, John was not. All 4 of them are now enjoying the presence of God in heaven. In fact, you might say Uriah and James had the better deal -- they skipped several decades of suffering on earth and went straight to their reward.

So, regardless whether we are chosen to die young for the Lord or chosen to live on earth longer, "for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)

P: Father, help us to be faithful to you as along as we live, no matter how long that might be. Amen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Good news in the midsts of bad times

17/8/11 Jeremiah 23-25; John 19

S: Jeremiah 22:30 This is what the Lord says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’

Jeremiah 24:5-6 “For the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’
In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety.”

O: Jehoiachin was a descendant of David, and sat on the throne of David, but he had done much evil. So God condemned him like the evil kings of Israel in the past, to having no descendants anymore to sit on the throne of David.

However, just a few verses later, God promised to raise up a new descendant of David who will sit on the throne of David and rule justly with wisdom.

Jehoiachin did indeed have descendants who led Israel again, but not as king. Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel was a good leader during the time of the return from the exile, and he was a descendant of Jehoaiachin.

If you look at the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3, you will see that the genealogy in Matthew goes through Jehoaiachin (he was listed using his other name Jeconiah), but the genealogy in Luke does not. Evidence from church history tells us that the genealogy in Matthew traces Jesus' legal genealogy through his adopted father Joseph, through the royal line back to David, while Luke traces his biological genealogy through Mary (Joseph being actually the son-in-law of Heli/Joachim*.)**

So, Jesus legitimately the successor to the throne of David legally (Matthew) and biologically (Luke). This solves the problem of how we can have a Messiah who sits on the throne of David in spite of the royal line being cursed at the time of Jehoiachin/Jeconiah.

A: Even in the midst of the troubled times of Jeremiah with the destruction of Judah as a political entity and the exile, God is still preparing His salvation. He provided Cyrus, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel to physically bring the Jews back to the land of Israel, then He brought Jesus to restore the throne of David -- but way more than the Jews ever imagined -- not just to save the Jews, but to save the whole world!

We are now part of this salvation, grafted into the vine. Even when we are facing difficult times, we can trust that God is still in control.

P: Father, we thank You that You loved us and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Help us to stay strong in our faith even when things are difficult. In Jesus' name, amen.

* Heli is the same name as Joachim in this manner: Heli is a Greek contraction of Eliachim, which is the same as Jehoachim. (Eli = God; Jeho = Jehovah.)
** You might notice that Zerubabbel son of Shealtiel is in both genealogies. It could be two different Zerubabbels or it could be that the lines crossed again through marriage and we have more sons-in-law and adoptions listed here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God's people during times of judgement

16/8/11 2 Kings 24; Jeremiah 22; Psalm 112; John 18

S: 2 Kings 24:12 King Nebuchadnezzar took all of Jerusalem captive, including all the commanders and the best of the soldiers, craftsmen, and artisans—10,000 in all. Only the poorest people were left in the land.

Jeremiah 22:3 This is what the Lord says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent!

Psalm 112:1 Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.

O: Judah had become exceedingly wicked. They stopped following the Lord, and were practising all sorts of injustice. However, when God allowed Babylon to conquer Judah as a consequence of this, the minority who still followed the Lord also suffered the consequences.

Nonetheless, people like Jeremiah, Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah*, even as they got carried off to exile, stayed faithful to the Lord and the Lord blessed them even in exile. Doubtless some of the people who still followed the Lord died in the war, but they ended up in Abraham's bosom.

A: Juliane & I were just discussing over dinner that we fear for the future of Malaysia, what with the corruption in high places and the mistreatment of foreigners. God may well bring judgement upon our land, and we as Malaysians would be caught up in that judgement.

However, we need not fear and can still trust the Lord, that even if we are caught up in God's judgement, as we are faithful to Him, He will look after us like He did Jeremiah, Daniel, Mishael, Hannaniah and Azariah.

P: Father, help us to trust You, keep following You, and not fear even as we see evil abound. In Jesus' name, amen.

* Otherwise known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Repentance is possible... and vice versa

15/8/11 Jeremiah 18-20; Psalm 93; John 17

S: Jeremiah 18:7-10 If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.

O: The LORD revealed this word to Jeremiah in the last days of the kingdom of Judah. God had centuries earlier promised to bless the House of David and to let Israel have a king from the House of David forever. This promise was about to be broken, not because God wanted to break it, but because the House of David and the children of Israel were unfaithful to the LORD.

(Well, it will not be ultimately broken because Yeshua, the Son of David, will come and assume the throne for eternity. But in a temporal sense, it will be broken.)

A: This passage is both hopeful and scary. God's curses can be removed if you repent, and God's blessings can be removed if you stop following Him.

So if you've strayed from God, repent! But let us be careful lest we fall! (1 Corinthians 9:27) I need to remember this when I'm tempted! Not that giving in to one temptation will cause God's blessings to flee from me forever, but if I persist in sin, it will.

P: Father, help me to remember this truth when I am tempted. But if I do fall, help me to quickly repent and get back on the right track. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fear not

14/8/11 Jeremiah 16-17; Psalm 96; John 16

S: John 16: 2,3,33 For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. This is because they have never known the Father or me. ... I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

O: The saints of God throughout the ages have faced opposition. However, since God is for us, all the opposition is ultimately futile. (Romans 8:31) Even if they kill us, they will not prevail. (Matthew 10:28)

A: So we do not need to fear (Isaiah 41:10) even as we face our "momentary light affliction" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

P: Father, help us to keep the eternal perspective when faced with opposition to Your Gospel. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Be careful if you're going to prophesy

13/8/11 Jeremiah 13-15; John 15

S: Jeremiah 14:14-15 Then the Lord said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine!”

O: Jeremiah was not the only person claiming to have prophecies from the Lord in Judah at the time. Many of the others were saying that God would save them from their enemies. There are also other passages in scripture where people claimed to speak for the Lord but were wrong.

A: Since the late 80s, I've been in Charismatic churches or churches which are open to the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit today. I think that generally speaking, this is good because it was wrong for the mainstream Protestant and Anabaptist churches to claim that God no longer does miracles.

However, there have been many excesses of the Charismatic movement and one of them is encouraging false prophecy. So many times I have heard people "prophesy" and being encouraged to "speak a word from the Lord" over people. I've even been in "practice sessions" where we were paired up and asked to ask the Lord for a "word" to speak over our partner.

One church I was in, a beloved deaconess was dying of cancer and we kept up a 24-hour prayer vigil in the hospital waiting room. There was a book provided for people to write down prayers, and many people wrote down prophecies that this dear lady would be healed. She died. Nothing was done about the false prophecies.

Other people have felt bound to honour "words from the Lord" spoken over them by somebody, and ended up making poor choices.

Old Testament law actually said to stone prophets whose prophecies do not come true! (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) While I don't believe that we should do that in these New Testament times, it seems pretty clear that God views false prophecy as a very serious matter.

God can and does enable people to prophesy today, just as He can and does perform other miracles, even raising the dead. However, we'd better be darned sure that it is from the Lord before we say it is from the Lord!

To be fair, some Charismatics do practice saying "I think the Lord might be saying..." instead of a definitive "God told me...".

P: Father, help us to discern when You are truly speaking and when it is just someone's imagination. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, August 12, 2011


12/8/11 Jeremiah 10-12; John 14

S: Jeremiah 10:2 This is what the Lord says:
“Do not act like the other nations,
who try to read their future in the stars.
Do not be afraid of their predictions,
even though other nations are terrified by them.”

O: Jeremiah 10 talks about the foolishness of idols, a topic which I had discussed earlier in the Life Journal for 25 July, Fear Not Idols.

This particular verse talks about trying to predict the future with the stars, however. The stars are just part of God's creation. They do not normally predict the future, though of course God could use a miracle (e.g. the Star of Bethlehem) to indicate something that He is doing.

A: So many Christians fall into the trap of astrology. "Oh, I'm just reading the horoscopes for fun," they say, but then you know that what you read will impact your thinking. It's a short trip from there to superstition and fear.

P: Father, thank You that You hold our lives in Your hands and You care for us. In Jesus, name, Amen.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Servant Leadership

11/8/11 Jeremiah 7-9, John 13

S: John 13:12-17 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

O: This happened at the Last Supper, so Jesus was preparing for his death.

A: "Servant leadership" is easier said than done. Foot-washing has been made a regular ritual in the Roman Catholic church (the pope washes the feet of 12 men during the Mass of the Lord's Supper) and many Protestant churches where it is done on Maundy Thursday. This is a good ritual to remind us of Jesus' teaching. However, true servant leadership is harder to do than a ritual.

Churches throughout history have had to struggle with servant leadership. Church leaders from all sorts of denominations -- from popes all the way down to pastors in small congregations -- have given in to the sin of lording it over the the people the Lord entrusted to them. Extreme examples of this turn into dysfunctional situations where the pastor's word is law and the Gospel suffers for it.

Even as lay believers, there is this danger. I am just a lay leader, but the temptation of self-aggrandisement is always there. And in my role as the leader of my household, as the father, I also have to be a servant leader.

P: Father, keep me from pride, and help me to be a servant leader following Jesus' example. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Die for You! Live for You!

10/8/11 Jeremiah 5-6; John 12

S: John 12:24-26 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honour anyone who serves me.

O: Jesus is preparing for his sacrificial death on the cross, but here He is now applying the same principle to all of us who follow Him.

A: We are in the midst of the 40-day prayer & fasting called by the NECF (the umbrella organisation for Evangelical churches in Malaysia) leading up to Malaysia Day.

Today's prayer item was for religious liberty, and the passage is Daniel 3:17-18. How apt! This ties directly in with Jesus' call upon us in today's Life Journal reading.

In one sense, for those of us who have internalised the truth that "for me to live is Christ and to die is gain", death holds no fear. If someone were to hold a gun to my head and say, "Deny Christ or die!" the choice would be simple, "Go ahead and shoot," just like what happened to Cassie Bernall or Valeen Schnurr during the massacre at Columbia High School.

But what is more difficult is to live for Christ! To daily take up our cross and follow Him is a bigger challenge for me, though now that I have a wife and children depending on me, I guess dying for Christ has an increased difficulty as I would be concerned for what happens to them when I'm gone.

But even so, I think it would still be easier to die for Him than to live for Him. Almost every day, I struggle with facing temptation and the split-second choices to do it God's way or to do it my way.

P: Father, I present my body as a living sacrifice to You. Renew my mind by Your Word so that I will be conformed to You and not to the world's way of doing things. Lead me not unto temptation but deliver me from evil. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why did Jesus weep?

9/8/11 Jeremiah 3-4, John 11

S: John 11:30 Jesus wept

O: Jesus' good friend Lazarus was sick, but when he was told of this, Jesus did not immediately go to Bethany to see him. Eventually, Lazarus died.

When Jesus got there, people said "Behold how he loved him! Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?" (John 11:36-37)

Jesus, however, knew full well even before he returned to Judea that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:11).

So why is it Jesus wept? I used to wonder that as well. Then a few months ago, I was listening to reruns of Adventures in Odyssey and heard the episode where Connie and her friends were mourning the death of Mitch. Even though I had heard the episode before, I found tears coming to my eyes.

This was especially interesting because I knew Mitch was really not dead! The FBI had faked his death in order to protect him from the Novacom conspirators! I knew all this because I had listened to the whole Novacom saga before.

This helped me understand why Jesus wept even though he knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. His compassion and empathy for the sorrow of Mary and Martha brought him to tears.

A: Too often when a Christian friend dies, we say insensitive truths to his mourning loved ones like, "He is in a happier place now" etc. We need to learn to sit shiva with our grieving friends. The Biblical truths about the dearly departed are still true, but that's not the time to try to cheer up the grieving person.

P: Father, teach us wisdom how to be good emotional support to friends who are grieving and not to just offer platitudes. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, August 8, 2011

If you obey God in His calling, He will take care of you.

8/8/11 Jeremiah 1-2; John 10

S: Jeremiah 1:4-7 The Lord gave me this message:“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Jeremiah 1:17-19 “Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them. For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land—the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah. They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

O: Jeremiah is sometimes called the Weeping Prophet because he saw the downfall of Judah. God had been patient with Judah and sent many prophets to warn them against apostasy, but they refused to listen. So God eventually allowed them to be conquered. Jeremiah was the last of these prophets and his sorrow was so palpable that one of the books he wrote is called "Lamentations".

However, because he obeyed God, God promised to empower and protect him. The current Wikipedia entry on Jeremiah notes,
God’s personal prediction to Jeremiah, “Attack you they will, overcome you they can’t,” was fulfilled many times in the Biblical narrative, Jeremiah was attacked by his own brothers, beaten and put into the stocks by a priest and false prophet, imprisoned by the king, threatened with death, thrown into a cistern by Judah’s officials, and opposed by a false prophet. When Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem in 586 BC, he ordered that Jeremiah be freed from prison and treated well."

A: We can trust God even when people oppose us if we're following His calling on our lives. The last two days' Life Journal entries [1][2] were on trusting God even when circumstances are bad. Today, we see this illustrated in Jeremiah's life. Though Jeremiah had what from a human standpoint was an unhappy life and unsuccessful ministry, ultimately in eternity (or even now) we see that God honoured and protected Jeremiah and he is now rejoicing in Heaven with God.

Lately, we in Malaysia have been reading a lot about the JAIS raid on DUMC. The people in DUMC have been faithfully serving God and are now being attacked for it. Of course, it's nothing like the persecution we see our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, India, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. are facing.

The Bible makes it clear that God's protection doesn't necessarily mean physical protection from death -- many have been martyred for the faith. Nonetheless, "do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)

P: Father, help us to stay strong in the face of opposition. Let us trust in You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

God doesn't guarantee us health and wealth, but He loves us

7/8/11 Zephaniah 1-3; John 9

S: John 9:2-3 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.

O: There are many scripture verses that talk about God giving health & wealth to people who follow Him. There are scriptures also that show that sometimes God sends illness and calamity because people did not follow Him.

But the whole counsel of scripture is clear that this is not always the case. There are many places in the Bible that show true followers of God suffering and deprived. In this passage, Jesus clearly taught that it wasn't for the man's or his parent's sins that he was born blind.

As a result of only looking at the "health and wealth" passages, we have some unbalanced teachings come out that say that if you follow God, you must be blessed with health and wealth. If you don't have health and wealth, it's a sign of your lack of faith. There is even one pastor whom I personally know who teaches that you must never go to a doctor -- that it is at best lack of faith, and at worst, demonic! Some of her followers have fallen sick and even died because of refusing medical treatment. There is often an attitude among people having such wrong theology to blame the victim, "She's sick because she didn't have the faith to be healed." Some of them end up putting on a front, "I'm fine!" when they are not.

A: We can be honest with God about our afflictions. We can and should pray for each other for healing. But we cannot be presumptuous about it and refuse medicine.

God may call us to wealth, or He may have a purpose for us that doesn't include that. We can trust Him that He knows what He's doing and that He loves us. (See yesterday's Life Journal entry.)

P: Father, we thank You that You do love us and bless us. Help us to trust You even when it's not in the way we expect, so that even when we go through the valley of the shadow of death, we will not fear any evil. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Trust God anyway

6/8/11 Habakkuk 1-3; John 8

S: Habakkuk 3:17-18
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

O: Habakkuk sees injustice all around him. The people of Israel had stopped following the LORD; evil people seemed to prosper.

So the LORD told him that He was sending the Assyrians to conquer Israel. Habakkuk was taken aback -- aren't the Assyrians even worse than the Israelites, after all?

But the LORD pointed out to him that the Assyrians will also get their comeuppance. Evil men have their own plans, and God may use them to achieve His ends, but they're still responsible for their actions.

So Habakkuk comes to this conclusion at the end.

A: God is on His throne, and it'll all work out eventually. So even if you are living in confusing circumstances -- even when God doesn't make sense -- God still is in control, and we can trust Him as He is all-powerful and loves us. He understands, even when we don't understand.

P: Father, when life gets crazy and we don't understand why bad things are happening, may we trust You anyway. In Jesus' name, amen.

ALLAH PEDULI (GOD CARES -- see English translation below)

Banyak perkara yang tak dapat ku mengerti
Mengapakah harus terjadi
Di dalam kehidupan ini
Suatu perkara yang ku simpan dalam hati
Tiada satupun kan terjadi tanpa Allah perduli

Allah mengerti
Allah peduli
Segala persoalan yg kita hadapi
Tak akan pernah di biarkanya ku bergumul sendiri
Sbab Allah mengerti

Allah mengerti
Allah peduli
Segala persoalan yg kita hadapi
Tak akan pernah di biarkanya ku bergumul sendiri
Sbab Allah Yesus ku mengerti

English translation:

There are many things that I don't understand
Why they should happen
In this life.
One thing that I keep in my heart:
Nothing happens without God's care.

God understands,
God cares
About all the questions we face.
We will not have to struggle on our own
Because God understands.

God understands,
God cares
About all the questions we face.
We will not have to struggle on our own
Because my God Jesus understands.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Actively follow Jesus

5/8/11 2 Kings 23; 2 Chronicles 35; John 7

S: John 7:37-39 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

O: The Holy Spirit is an essential part of the Christian life. Each of us are indwell by the Holy Spirit when we are born again, but we might not be filled with the Holy Spirit or walking in the Spirit. However, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and walking in the Spirit, we will be like a river in a desert, giving life to those around us.

The New Living Translation translates the "walk in the Spirit" verse (Galatians 5:16) as " So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves." This makes clear what you will get even if you read the verse with its surrounding passages in a more literal translation, e.g. NKJV.

A: We need to actively follow Jesus. We need to daily take up our cross, deny our sinful desires, and follow Jesus. (Luke 9:23) When we do this, when we walk in the Spirit, when we drink deeply of Jesus by spending time meditating on His Word, when we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2), then we will be like springs of living water.

P: Father, I cannot be a spring of living water without You. Keep me attached to the Vine as a faithful fruitful branch. In Jesus' name, amen.

No fear of death

4/8/11 2 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 34; John 6

S: 2 Kings 22:14-20
So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quartert of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.

She said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this cityt and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.’

“But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord.

So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’”
So they took her message back to the king.

O: I wonder if this could be at least part of the reason why God allowed Josiah to attack Pharaoh Neco and be killed. (See the next chapter.)

In the history of Judah, good kings always lived long, while bad kings died young. But Josiah was an exception. He was a good king, yet God allowed him to be defeated and killed in battle.

But perhaps the reason is because of this -- that he would die and be properly buried in honour? Anyway, "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" for believers (2 Corinthians 5:8) so Josiah may have died on earth but he would live on in Abraham's bosom.

John Stott just passed away on 27 July 2011. The church mourned the passing of this great theologian, but although it is a loss for us, it's no loss for him -- he's enjoying Himself with the Lord in heaven now!

A: Death should not be a terror for the believer. Sure, the process of dying might be painful and unpleasant, but death itself is just a door to Eternity with God.

Thank You Lord, for saving my soul!
Thank You Lord, for making me whole.
Thank You Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Danger of Legalism

3/8/11 Nehemiah 1-3; John 5

S: John 5:8-16 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded. The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him. So the Jewish leaders began harassingt Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.

O: The Jewish leaders were so fixated on their strict interpretation of the Law that they couldn't see a miracle staring in their face.

A: We as committed Christians also suffer from this danger. It's so easy to be Pharisaicly legalistic in our desire to be spiritually correct.

P: Father, keep me walking in Your Spirit and guard me against becoming Pharisaic. If there are things that I'm legalistic about, please open my eyes to them and help me become more Christlike. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Repent before it is too late!

2/8/11 2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 33; John 4

S: 2 Chronicles 33:6 Manasseh also sacrificed his own sons in the firet in the valley of Ben-Hinnom. He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the LORD’s sight, arousing his anger.

2 Chronicles 33:10-13 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the LORD brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the LORD alone is God!

O: King Manasseh should have known better -- he had a really godly father, King Hezekiah. Yet he did so much evil, even to the point of human sacrifice!

Yet, it was still possible to repent!

A: Let's not wait until we are dragged off in captivity to repent, like Manasseh did. In our modern context, God gives us grace and time to repent, but after a certain time, the consequences of our sins will come upon us.

I personally struggle with temptation a lot and give in a lot. But I need to repent quickly and not wallow in the sin, and I need to resist temptation and not sin in the first place!

Thanks be to God that even bad King Manasseh could repent. Let's repent quickly!

P: Father, I repent of my sins and thank You for Your grace and forgiveness. Thank You for Jesus' sacrifice on the cross which makes this possible. Keep me from temptation and deliver me from evil. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Note: verse 18 says that the prayer of Manasseh was recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and verse 19 says that it was also recorded in the Record of the Seers. These two books don't survive to this day, but in the Orthodox Christian Bible (from the Septuagint, the ancient Syriac, Old Slavonic, Ethiopic, Armenian and Ethiopian translations of the Bible) you can find a passage called the Prayer of Manasseh. You can read a modern English translation of this text here. This text is recognised as scripture by the Orthodox church; the Catholic church sees it as an important text, but does not recognise it as scripture; some Protestant churches have a similar view as the Catholic church, while others are like the Evangelical churches which largely ignore it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Having a Godly reflex.

1/8/11 Isaiah 65-66; Psalm 62; John 3

S: Psalm 62:1 I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.
Psalm 62:8 O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:10 Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.

O: David ben Jesse faced a lot of trouble in his life. He was unjustly accused by King Saul ben Kish -- David had done nothing wrong, but Saul was jealous of his growing popularity, and tried to kill him. Yet David trusted God through it all. Twice, he had the opportunity to kill Saul but each time, he stayed his hand because he would not kill God's anointed.

A: Many times I have been tempted to do something for my own advantage which violates God's principles. Sometimes I trust God and don't do it, and sometimes I give in to the temptation -- especially when it is a spur-of-the-moment decision that I don't have time to think and pray over.

A reflex is something we do without thinking. Many times when I am going somewhere I don't usually drive to, if I have a lapse of attention, I will find myself driving to some place I normally do drive to.

I need to train my reflexes so that I will automatically do the godly thing rather than the ungodly thing.

P: Father, help me to fill my mind with Your Word so that even when I don't have time to think, I will do what is right and not follow my natural ungodly reflexes. In Jesus' name, amen.