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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Standing around praising God


S: Psalm 47:1-2, 5-7 Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. ... God has ascended with a mighty shout. The LORD has ascended with trumpets blaring. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm.

O: The people of God spend a lot of time "standing around praising God." Several non-Christians have mentioned this to me as an argument against Christianity.

One friend says that in his religion, in heaven, they get to eat as much as they want, sleep with as many virgins as they want, indulge in pleasure as much as they want, all without the negative consequences these excesses would have on earth, while in our Christian heaven, we just stand around praising God.

An Atheist friend says that Christianity's God is so insecure and egotistical since He wants people to praise Him all the time.

However, I personally can testify that some of my most wonderful experiences in life thus far have been times when I was immersed in the presence of God in worship, standing around praising God, clapping, shouting, singing, dancing before Him, worshipping God in a most intimate way, paradoxically in the midsts of a crowd of other people worshipping Him. (I say "paradoxically" because it is perhaps paradoxical how intimate a connection I have felt with God while in a crowd of other people having a similar intimate connection with Him!)

My early Christian experience was in a more traditional style of church, where there was good Biblical teaching, but people did not worship "in the Spirit." When I first heard "praise and worship" music, it was on tape (remember those things? ^‿^) and the music did not appeal to me.

However, the first time I entered a Charismatic church, I felt something. I didn't know what it was, and I felt it again the next few times I went. I think now that it was because I had already been filled with the Holy Spirit even before I first stepped into a Charismatic church, and so my spirit resonated with God's presence in that house of worship, and that was what I was feeling -- the manifest presence of God.

Now, I would be the first to admit that there are many excesses of the Charismatic movement and we do need solid Biblical grounding in addition to the experiential aspect of the Holy Spirit. It's both-and, not either-or. We need true experience with the manifest presence of God through the Holy Spirit, and also solid Bible study and meditation on the Word of God.

So, when you see time and time again the saints write in the Bible things like "praise the LORD!" it is an expression of this exuberant intimacy, this call to worship that is part of this very personal love relationship between the believer and God. It's not that God is so insecure that He needs to be buttered up. It's like when you're in love, you express your love spontaneously as part of the intimacy and relationship. I'm in love with God, and so I praise Him!

A: So, come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise!

P: I worship You, Almighty God! There is none like You! I worship You, O Prince of Peace! That is what I want to do! I give You praise for you are my righteousness. I worship You, Almighty God! There is none like You!

Note: "Hallelujah" means "Praise the the LORD".

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

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The God of Second Chances


S: Hosea 14:2-4 Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.” The LORD says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever.

O: This is the moral of the story of Hosea. This is a message repeated time and time again in the Bible: God doesn't want evil people to go to hell. He would much rather they repent and turn to Him. He loves us and wants to save us!

A: So, if you've lived your life up till now turned away from God, or if you once had followed Him but strayed into the wrong paths, it is still not too late -- turn around! You can still call upon God and receive the forgiveness Jesus' death of the cross has bought for you!

P: Thank You for the cross, the mighty cross,
That God Himself should die for such as us,
And every day we're changed
Into Your image more and more,
Yes, by the cross we've truly been transformed.
And we're so amazed, and we give You praise
That You would save us at such a cost.
We're so amazed, and we give You praise
For the power of the cross,
For the power of the cross!
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Go marry a prostitute?


S: Hosea 1:2 When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods.”

O: Time and time again, the Bible tells believers not to marry people who are not following God, yet here we have a direct command from God to the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute!

God had a very specific reason for this. His people had fallen away from Him, yet He still loved them. So He was calling them back to Himself, and Hosea was to be living illustration of how God was faithful even when His people were faithless, and that repentance was still possible.

A: While you're still alive, there is still hope. If you have turned your back on God, repent now and return! He loves you. God does not desire the wicked to die but rather to repent and turn back to Him.

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

Saturday, May 12, 2012

With Power Comes Responsibility


S: Ezekiel 34:1-10 Then this message came to me from the LORD: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them. “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey.

O: God holds those of us who are given power over other people accountable for the wielding of that power. As Spiderman says, "With great power comes great responsibility."

While the original condemnation was addressed to the leaders of Israel, the general principle applies everywhere.

Recently here in Malaysia we heard the terrible reports and saw the terrible images of police brutally beating up peaceful pro-democracy protesters and photojournalists who tried to record their brutality. One of my pastors personally witnessed one of these incidents of police beating up protesters who had already peacefully submitted to arrest!

A: Most of us condemn these terrible actions by the Barisan Nasional government in their attempts to prevent free and fair elections in Malaysia. However, each of us have a certain amount of power as well -- I do, as a father, in my position at work, as worship leader at my church, etc.

It is so easy for me to be disgusted by the evil actions of Barisan Nasional leaders, but God also holds me accountable for the power I have. I have to act responsibly for each and every authority entrusted to me. I have to be a servant leader, just as Christ instructed us. (Matthew 20:25-28)

P: Father, prick my conscience whenever I'm tempted to abuse my authority. Let me be a servant leader, just as Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ancestry ≠ Destiny


S: Numbers 26:10-11 But the earth opened up its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, and fire devoured 250 of their followers. This served as a warning to the entire nation of Israel. However, the sons of Korah did not die that day.

O: Korah was the ringleader in the rebellion against Moses and God's rule. God judged him, and swallowed him up in an earthquake, but the sons of Korah went on to serve the Lord, writing Psalms 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 84, 85, and 88.

Similarly, former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad was one of the architects of the destruction of democracy in Malaysia, with Operation Lallang jailing most of the opposition leaders, shutting down of the newspapers critical of his regime, The Star and Sin Chew Jit Poh, trumping up charges against the Lord President of the Supreme Court Tun Salleh Abas to destroy the independence of the judiciary, etc.

But his daughter, Marina Mahathir, is a fighter for democracy and human rights. Marina Mahathir participated in recent BERSIH 3.0 pro-democracy protests, and wrote this article protesting the government's anti-democractic and violent way of handling it, and this article (which the now government-controlled Star spiked) protesting how people tried to demonize BERSIH 3.0 by associating it with the gay agenda.

A: It is natural to think that children of evil people will continue in their parents' legacy, and indeed, it is often the case. But it is also possible for them do do differently.

And, if you are a child of a bad legacy, you don't have to continue in that path. The grace of God is available!

P: Father, help me to give people the benefit of the doubt, in spite of whatever their family history might be. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)