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, September 29, 2012

Not yet perfect, but working on it


S: Philippians 3:12-14 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

O: We are caught in between the now and the not yet. Jesus calls us to perfection, but we are not there yet.

A: Instead of giving this up as an impossible goal, we should be motivated to continue improving. One of the wonderful things that Christ has won for us on the cross is forgiveness of sins. Hence, we can repent and get back up when we fall, and resume the journey to the image of Christ that God is calling us to.

It's so easy to become complacent in our walk with Christ. I struggle with this myself. But let us be encouraged and daily take up our cross and follow Jesus.

P: Father, sometimes I get discouraged by my sinful tendencies. Thank you for reminding me that even when I'm not faithful, You are faithful, and will carry us 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, September 22, 2012

Are you afraid of death?


S: Philippians 1:20-24 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.

O: If you have put your trust in Jesus for your salvation, you no longer need to fear death. Of course, your faith in Christ should be evidenced by your life, for, as Jesus' brother James tells us, "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”" (James 2:17-18)

But generally speaking, if you are walking with Jesus, you should not have any reason to fear physical death, for physical death is only the door to eternal life with God.

This is the reason that believers through the centuries have stood up to persecutors and tyrants who demand that they recant their faith on pain of death, and even today, our brothers and sisters in Christ who live under anti-Christian conditions in many countries face the same thing. People are still being martyred today -- just look at the frequent reports from sources like Mission Network News, International Christian Concern, Voice of the Martyrs, Persecution Times, Christian Persecution Info, and Compass Direct. In fact, many sources report that more Christians have been martyred in the last century than in all previous centuries. This is partly due to the fact that there are more Christians today than ever before.

A: When I see what our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world have stood up to and continue to stand up to for their faith, and coupled with the assurance that if we die in Christ, we would live forever with Him, I am dismayed at how timid I am to stand up for Jesus.

I know, I've seed Christians who have been obnoxious in the way they try to share the Gospel, and we must bear in mind that we must be winsome in the way we share Christ's love. But how much of my timidity is because of fear of people instead of fear of God rather than tactfulness and sensitivity?

P: Father, let me see the world through Your eyes. Help me to recognise the opportunities to share the love of Christ and to take those opportunities and not let them slip away.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2012



S: Romans 14:1-23 Welcome all the Lord's followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right. Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honour their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don't eat meat. Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. In the Scriptures God says, “I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name!” And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do. We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone's faith. The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit. If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don't let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. Don't let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. God's kingdom isn't about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people. We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith. Don't let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat. It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes problems for other followers of the Lord. What you believe about these things should be kept between you and God. You are fortunate, if your actions don't make you have doubts. But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin.

O: In Galatians 4:10-11, Paul tells us that there really no special days, yet here he tells the Romans “Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honour their Lord.” So what's the deal with that?

A: There truly are some things which are right and wrong, but being right or wrong about these secondary matters is not as important as being flexible and being able to keep fellowship in spite of the disagreements.

We are all imperfect, and our understanding of scripture, God and the world is imperfect. So we must leave room for other believers to disagree with us about secondary matters, even while recognizing that someone might be factually wrong.

I used to be an anti-Charismatic Bible-literalist Evangelical who held all kinds of prejudices against Pentecostals, Catholics, Calvinists and various other kinds of Christians. But God brought me into contact with many Pentecostals, Catholics, Calvinists and various other kinds of Christians who demonstrated a true faithfulness to Jesus and a genuine desire to follow Him. Over the years, I have had to drop these prejudices and recognize them as my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

I have more in common with people committed to following Jesus from other denominations than with people in my own denomination who are just "Sunday Christians".

One pastor I have had in the past like to say, "We can agree to disagree agreeably". That's a good thing to keep in mind!

P: Father, Jesus prayed that we Christians may be one even as You and Jesus are one. I echo that prayer. In Jesus' name, amen.

This old Indonesian Christian song to the tune of "Red River Valley" exemplifies this sentiment:

Translation of the lyrics:
I don't care what church you're from
As long as you stand upon His Word
When your heart is like my heart
You're my brother and my sister

Here's a nice rendition of the same song in Bahasa Batak:
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Democracy and God's establishment of authorities


S: Romans 13:1-7 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honour you. The authorities are God's servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God's servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honour to those who are in authority.

O: This passage is one of those which caused faithful Christians to unquestioningly support the ruling king of their day even though the kings were evil. An example of such a Christian was Thomas Moore (1476-1535), who served under the evil king of England, Henry VIII, who, for totally selfish reasons of his own, declared the Church of England independent of the Catholic Church.

Moore was the Chancellor of England under King Henry (something like Prime Minister, but since Henry was an absolute monarch rather than a constitutional monarch, he had to obey whatever Henry decided, and he was appointed by Henry and not democratically elected.

However, he could not with clear conscience abide by King Henry's claim to be the head of the Church of England instead of the Pope. King Henry also kept murdering his wives so that he could marry other women, which Moore could not approve of.

Thus, Moore was faced with a dilemma: he believed that the King was divinely appointed and as a good Christian, he had to be subject to him. On the other hand, the king commanded him to do something which is against God! So how could he resolve this?

He tried to come to some kind of accommodation -- he tried to resign as chancellor, to retire from politics, etc. However, eventually, he had to recognise what Peter and John had recognised way back in Acts 4:9: "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God."

As a result of his principled stand due to his faith, he was convicted of treason and executed.

Even though I am not a Roman Catholic and do not have allegiance to the pope in Rome, Thomas Moore is nonetheless one of my heroes of the faith as a result of his principled stance according to his conscience even unto the point of martyrdom as best as he understood what it meant to follow Christ.

A: Romans 13:3-5 clearly states that a God-established authority is supposed to punish evildoers and commend people who do good. When a government ceases to do that, it no longer has the divine right to rule.

In a real democracy, we the people have the responsibility to choose the government. Therefore, as Christian voters, we must vote for those who will do what is right. We must not continue to support evildoers just because we will personally benefit even to the detriment of the country at large.

Therefore, as believers, we cannot support a corrupt and evil government.

P: Father, as we face the upcoming elections in Malaysia, we pray for people who will do what is right to be elected, and for the corrupt and evil to be brought down. We pray against the vote rigging and cheating that the ruling BN always does, that in spite of their total control of the TV, radio and newspapers, enough people will realise what is going on and vote for a change anyway, in big enough numbers that we can overcome the cheating. 55 years is too long for any one party to control the country. We pray for our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed, and pray that we may have the courage to take action to bring about a more just government in our country. In Jesus' name, amen.

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