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, June 23, 2012

Blessings with challenges


S: 2 Kings 4:8-37 tells the story of the woman from Shunem who was hospitable to the prophet Elisha. She always hosted Elisha whenever he came to Shunem, so Elisha wanted to appreciate her somehow.

She still had no children, and her husband was already old, so Elisha prophesied that she would have a child by that time the following year.

She said, “No, my lord! O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.” But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said.

But then, some years later, the boy collapsed and died. She quickly went to see Elisha, but everyone who asked her on her way if anything was wrong, she would tell them, “everything is fine.” The Lord Himself chose not to reveal to Elisha what the problem was, but he could tell she was troubled.

However, when she got to Elisha, she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?”

Elisha immediately told his apprentice, Gehazi, to go lay his staff on the child's face. However, this didn't revive the child, so Elisha went into the room, shut the door, and prayed to God. Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes!

Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!” She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs.

O: The Shunemite woman had already give up. She thought she would never have a child. But God had other plans -- she was to be rewarded for her hospitality to the Lord's prophet.

However, God isn't just interested in making our lives happy -- He wants to train us to perfection. Character is ultimately more important in eternity than temporal happiness.

That's why James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”

Things have been generally going well in the last year. Just recently, however, I faced some challenges. But I can trust God that He will carry me through.

A: When trials come, don't despair! God is still in control. Trust Him to use those trials to grow your character.

Thank you, Lord,
for the trials that come my way.
In that way I can grow each day
as I let you lead,

And thank you, Lord,
for the patience those trials bring.
In that process of growing,
I can learn to care.

But it goes against the way
I am to put my human nature down
and let the Spirit take control of all I do.
'Cause when those trials come,
my human nature shouts the thing to do;
and God's soft prompting
can be easily ignored.

I thank you, Lord,
with each trial I feel inside,
that you're there to help,
lead and guide me away from wrong.
'Cause you promised, Lord,
that with every testing,
that your way of escaping is easier to bear.

I thank you, Lord,
for the victory that growing brings.
In surrender of everything
life is so worth while.
And I thank you, Lord,
that when everything's put in place,
out in front I can see your face, and it's there you belong.

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

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Easier said than done


S: 2 Corinthians 13:11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.

O: When you read this, do you find yourself saying to Paul, "Yeah, right! Easier said than done!"?

It's true, these things are not easy. They do not happen overnight. Salvation is instantaneous, but the fruit of the Holy Spirit take time to grow.

A clue to this is "grow to maturity". This clearly doesn't happen overnight, but involves following Jesus, studying the Bible, praying, meeting together with other believers for fellowship and encouragement, consistently, over the the course of time.

A: Therefore, we need to daily "take up our cross" and follow Jesus. Even Jesus took time each morning to spend with God the Father. How much more we "normal" human beings need to do that!

I must admit I don't always succeed every day. There are days when I am so busy and harassed that I neglect this. There are even days when I'm just lazy. But we also serve the God of second chances. So when we fail, we can repent and get back up. True, we've lost yesterday's opportunity to grow, but we can resume the right course today.

P: Father, thank You that since You have begun a good work in us, you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. In Jesus' name, amen.

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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Balance, Diversity, and Tongues


S: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 15-20, 27-31 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. ... Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. ... Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

O: There is a lot of legitimate diversity in the church. We have different gifts, but we are part of the same body. It's not right to denigrate anyone else because they don't have the same gifts, and it is not right to insist that everyone must have the same gifts.

One of the things that have been of contention between Christians in the last century is the issue of speaking in tongues. Some groups insist that all must (or at least should speak in tongues. Other groups forbid tongues and other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, by applying a misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:10. But 1 Corinthians 14:39 clearly says that's wrong.

A: We must hold a balance in the diversity of gifts, and continue to fellowship with brothers & sisters in Christ who have different gifts, and even different beliefs in secondary matters from us. (Regarding different beliefs in secondary matters, see Romans 14.)

P: Father, help us to hold a Biblical balance and to love one another. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)