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, March 24, 2012

Transcending boundaries


S: John 4:9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

O: The enmity between Samaritans and Jews date back many centuries. It started with the splitting of Israel into Israel and Judah, back during Rehoboam's time (10ᵗʰ century B.C.) and really solidified during the time of Nehemiah (5ᵗʰ century B.C.) due to their opposition to the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple.

The Jews considered the Samaritans to be heretics, having deviated from the Mosaic law, while the Samaritans also hated the Jews. To this day, the Samaritan Pentateuch (Genesis - Deuteronomy) says that the Temple should be on Mt. Gerizim instead of Mt. Zion.

Furthermore, women in Jesus' culture had a very low position. So these two factors explain the Samaritan woman's surprise at Jesus talking to her.

A: Jesus did not allow racial, religious and cultural prejudice to stop him from reaching out to the Samaritan woman. Elsewhere, we saw him use a Samaritan as the hero of his parable, The Good Samaritan.

Galatians 3:28 also talks about how the Gospel transcends racial, social and gender boundaries.

As Malaysians, racism is quite ingrained to us, and we often unconsciously bring these prejudices into the church. We must follow our Lord Jesus and transcend these boundaries.

P: Father, help us to root out all our prejudices and love all people as You have loved them. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012



S: Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall conceive in her womb, and she shall give birth to a son. And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which means: God is with us.

O: The Angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary to tell her she would bear the Messiah. Now he appears to Joseph, to reassure him that she hasn't been sleeping around on him and that she was telling him the truth about the virgin conception.

The Masoretic text, from which the Protestant old Testament is translated, was taken from the tradition of the Jews who did not believe in Jesus. In that text, this quotation from Isaiah 7:14,. says "young woman" instead of "virgin". So, did Matthew misquote the Bible?

Not at all: the Septuagint, which was the Greek translation of the Old Testament used by the Greco-Roman world of the time, says "virgin". (Greek was the "English" of that time -- the language "everyone" knew, the language of international communication.) The Masoretic text was preserved from the Palestinian branch of Jewish scriptural transmission, while the Septuagint was translated from the Alexandrian branch of Jewish scriptural transmission. This translation was done before Jesus' time. Later, the Jews who did not believe in Jesus did a new translation of the Old Testament into Greek, based on the Palestinian branch of Jewish scriptural transmission. This translation was motivated by the fact that the Septuagint was so widely used by Christians to support Christian teachings.

In any case, the small differences between the various scriptural transmission lines don't really change much. The general thrust of scriptural doctrine remains the same. God is with us, as the name "Emmanuel" points out. God has provided a Saviour to save us and bring us back to Him.

A: God is with us, so let us trust in Him.

P: Father, thank You for providing Jesus to save us! In Jesus' name, amen.

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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ethan, did you know?


S: Psalm 89:1-4, 30-33, 36-39, 44, 46-52

I will sing of the LORD’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. The LORD said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant. I have sworn this oath to him: ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’” ... “But if his descendants forsake my instructions and fail to obey my regulations, if they do not obey my decrees and fail to keep my commands, then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their disobedience with beating. But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep my promise to him.” ... “His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun. It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!”

But now you have rejected him and cast him off. You are angry with your anointed king. You have renounced your covenant with him; you have thrown his crown in the dust. ... You have ended his splendor and overturned his throne.

O LORD, how long will this go on? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like fire? Consider, Lord, how your servants are disgraced! I carry in my heart the insults of so many people. Your enemies have mocked me, O LORD; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes. Praise the LORD forever! Amen and amen!

O: I'm not sure when Ethan the Ezrahite, who wrote this song, lived. Some people think he lived in the time of Rehoboam, after the loss of the northern 10 tribes, while it might have even been after the fall of Jerusalem, when there was no longer a son of David on the throne.

Ethan did not know that there will one day be an eternal Son of David, Jesus the Messiah, who will rule forever and ever, not only over Israel, but over every tribe, tongue and nation.

A: God's faithfulness is indeed eternal, as Ethan affirmed verses 1 and 2. But we are temporal, and we do not see the whole picture. In our immediate circumstances, it might look as if things are out of control -- Christians are persecuted, even martyred, and the Gospel hindered in various places and times. Our own lives might spiral seemingly out of control. It may seem as if there is no "Son of David" on the throne any more, as Ethan lamented.

But even as Ethan girded himself to praise the Lord at the end, and trusted in God even though he didn't see the results, we must also continue to trust in God and live according to His Word even when we don't understand the big picture.

As the prophet Habakkuk affrimed in the face of the Babylonian annihilation of Judah as an independent country,
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,
and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

P: Father, help me to trust in You even when things go wrong. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Danger, danger!


S: Genesis 3:2-3 The woman said to the snake, "We may eat the fruit of the garden’s trees but not the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘Don’t eat from it, and don’t touch it, or you will die.’"

O: God had actually told them, "Eat your fill from all of the garden’s trees; but don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on the day you eat from it, you will die!" (Genesis 2:16-17) There was no mention of touching it. Perhaps Adam had added the "don't touch" part as a further hedge against the sin?

I wonder if perhaps because Eve saw that nothing happened when she touched the fruit, that she might have thought, "Gosh, I touched it, and nothing happened!" and so was emboldened to eat it?

While it is good to put further hedges before the point of sin, we might need to keep in mind that those hedges are man-made. Just like a fence put a foot from the cliff, if you climb over that fence, you've not yet fallen off the cliff edge, but you're in serious danger territory.

A: Even if after we have stepped over our man-made fences, no terrible consequence happens to us, we must not proceed any further! We're in dangerous territory!

P: Father, may I stay on the safe side of those fences. If I find that I have given in to temptation to climb over them, I need to climb back over to the safe side before it's too late. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Forgiveness is available


S: Psalm 31:1-5 Blessed are they whose iniquities have been forgiven and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord has not imputed sin, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Because I was silent, my bones grew old, while still I cried out all day long. For, day and night, your hand was heavy upon me. I have been converted in my anguish, while still the thorn is piercing. I have acknowledged my offense to you, and I have not concealed my injustice. I said, "I will confess against myself, my injustice to the Lord," and you forgave the impiety of my sin.

Romans 3:23-26 For all have sinned and all are in need of the glory of God. We have been justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has offered as a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to reveal his justice for the remission of the former offenses, and by the forbearance of God, to reveal his justice in this time, so that he himself might be both the Just One and the Justifier of anyone who is of the faith of Jesus Christ.

O: Both the Old Testament passage and the New Testament passage show that God forgives, but we must come to Him in repentance. We all sin, but God is waiting like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, ready to forgive, if we would but confess our sins and repent.

A: When we sin, it is tempting to wallow in our sin. But the correct thing to do is to immediately come back to God in repentance. Christ has already died for our sins, our part is only to repent and return.
I'm forgiven
Now I have a reason for living
Jesus keeps giving and giving
Giving till my heart overflows!

P: Thank You for your wonderful grace and forgiveness! In Jesus' name, amen!
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pass it on


S: Deuteronomy 11:18-21 Place these words of mine in your hearts and minds, and hang them as a sign on your hands, and arrange them between your eyes. Teach your sons to meditate on them, when you sit in your house, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down or rise up. You shall write them upon the doorposts and the gates of your house, so that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your sons, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, that he would give it to them for as long as heaven is suspended above the earth.

O: The Orthodox Jews took this literally and wear phylacteries -- small boxes containing scripture verses -- on their hands and foreheads. But in context, the point of this is that we must remind ourselves and our children of what God has revealed to us.

A: We should study the scriptures ourselves regularly and teach it to our children. We can know something but it falls to the back of our minds and we don't do it. By reminding ourselves and our children regularly, it will influence our actions. If my children become highly educated and greatly successful in their careers, but abandon God, then I have failed as a parent.

P: Father, help me to regularly study Your Word and guide me as I teach your Gospel to my children. In Jesus' name, amen.

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