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, January 26, 2013

Sometimes non-believers learn when believers don't


S: Genesis 26:6-11 So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he replied, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” for he thought to himself, “The men of this place will kill me to get Rebekah because she is very beautiful.” After Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines happened to look out a window and observed Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac replied, “Because I thought someone might kill me to get her.” Then Abimelech exclaimed, “What in the world have you done to us? One of the men might easily have had sexual relations with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!” So Abimelech commanded all the people, “Whoever touches this man or his wife will surely be put to death.”

O: Abimelech, probably the son of the Abimelech in Genesis 20, evidently learned from the experience with Abraham in the previous generation, so this time he made no move at all for Rebekah, unlike his father who had believed Abraham and taken Sarah as a wife.

On the other hand, Isaac didn't learn the lesson from Abraham's mistake.

In mitigation, it can be argued that this shows that the practice of killing someone to steal their wife was widespread and commonplace at that time. Abimelech had to issue a specific edict to protect Isaac. If such things were generally not tolerated, he would not have needed to issue such an edict.

A: Sometimes we can even learn from the example of people who don't follow God. As Christians, we can get into the mindset that because we follow God, we're right and non-Christians are wrong. But sometimes non-Christians can show us a thing or two.

God can use non-Christians as well to teach us His ways. So we must be careful not to be arrogant and condescending.

P: Father, teach me to see Your truth, even in people who do not believe in You like we do. In Jesus' name, amen.

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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Value of Women in Christ


S: Genesis 19:4-8 Before they could lie down to sleep, all the men—both young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom—surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!” Lot went outside to them, shutting the door behind him. He said, “No, my brothers! Don’t act so wickedly! Look, I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them whatever you please. Only don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

O: Lot was considered a good man. This is illustrated by his desire to protect the visitors. Yet, he was willing to sacrifice his virgin daughters to be gang-raped! This illustrates the low view of women in ancient times.

Jesus overturned all that. He encouraged women to learn, as illustrated by the incident with Mary and Martha. Many leaders in the early church were women, e.g. Lydia, Priscilla, and Junia.

In the New Testament, the status of wives was elevated from being property to being someone that you must love sacrificially -- even to the point of death.

The old attitude of women having to be silent in synagogue was carried into the church by early converts. Some people in Corinth were forbidding women to speak in church as a result, saying, "the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says. If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home, because it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church." (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)

But Paul rebutted these arrogant men, "Did the word of God begin with you, or did it come to you alone?" (1 Corinthians 14:36)

He went on to put the nail in the coffin, "If anyone considers himself a prophet or spiritual person, he should acknowledge that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. If someone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So then, brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid anyone from speaking in tongues. And do everything in a decent and orderly manner." (1 Corinthians 14:37-40)

Indeed, these men had no right to forbid women from prophesying and speaking in tongues, let alone speaking normally in church!

A: Christ elevated the status of women from the ancient subjugated view to co-heirs with men -- "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

Let us value and honour both men and women as co-heirs of God's Kingdom and created male and female in the Image of God.

Over the centuries as the influence of the Gospel of Christ spread, the rape of women from being something "normal" ("sack, rape and pillage" was normal practice in wars) is now something almost all countries officially condemn (though still tacitly approved in some places.)

Let us speak out against it whenever we see it, e.g. in the recent case in India.

P: Father, thank You for my wonderful wife. In Jesus' name, amen.

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

Saturday, January 12, 2013

We're chosen by God, but we must still beware of sin


S: Genesis 12:1-3 The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country and your people. Leave your father's family. Go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you. I will make your name great. You will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you. I will put a curse on anyone who calls down a curse on you. All nations on earth will be blessed because of you."

Genesis 12:10-20 At that time there wasn't enough food in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while. As he was about to enter Egypt, he spoke to his wife Sarai. He said, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. The people of Egypt will see you. They will say, 'This is his wife.' And they will kill me. But they will let you live. Say you are my sister. Then I'll be treated well because of you. My life will be spared because of you." Abram arrived in Egypt. The people of Egypt saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. When Pharaoh's officials saw her, they bragged to Pharaoh about her. Sarai was taken into his palace. Pharaoh treated Abram well because of her. So Abram gained more sheep and cattle. He also got more male and female donkeys. And he gained more male and female servants and some camels. But the Lord sent terrible sicknesses on Pharaoh and everyone in his palace. He did it because of Abram's wife Sarai. So Pharaoh sent for Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, 'She's my sister'? That's why I took her to be my wife. Now then, here's your wife. Take her and go!" Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men. They sent him on his way. He left with his wife and everything he had.

O: There is no question that God had chosen and affirmed Abram, as we saw in Genesis 12:1-3. But nonetheless, in Genesis 12:10-20, we see Abram exhibit a lack of faith in God's protection, causing him to use Satan's methods of lying to try to protect himself. Not only that, Genesis 20 sees the now renamed Abraham committing the exact same sin again! And we see his son Isaac commit exactly the same sin in the next generation (Genesis 26).

A: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" as the Americans say. We are a Chosen Generation, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a Special People who have been called out of darkness into light (1 Peter 2:9) but yet, we need to be careful as Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour (1 Peter 5:8).

P: Dear Father, not only do I need to watch out for the explicit sins but also I need to watch out for the "slide into it" sins. Please help me to be vigilant at all times. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Grudges: nip it in the bud


S: Genesis 4:3-7 At the designated time Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought some of the firstborn of his flock – even the fattest of them. And the Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased. So Cain became very angry, and his expression was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

O: Some people think the reason Cain's offering didn't please the Lord was because he offered the results of his agriculture, rather than a blood sacrifice, and this is unfair because Cain was a farmer while Abel was a shepherd.

However, this was before the Mosaic law was instituted, and even in the Mosaic law, agricultural sacrifices were part of the offerings. And Hebrews 11:4 seems to suggest that the reason Abel's sacrifice was acceptable to the Lord was "by faith".

Anyway, regardless of why Cain's sacrifice didn't please the Lord like Abel's did, the point of this story was that Cain became jealous of Abel and angry with him, and God warned him that he had no basis for this animosity towards Abel -- it wasn't Abel's fault, it was Cain's own fault.

Furthermore, Cain's nurturing of this grudge meant that sin was crouching at his door. God urged Cain to subdue it, but as we know, Cain instead continued nurturing his grudge until it ended in murder -- fratricide.

A: We find ourselves annoyed with someone, Christ calls us to quickly forgive -- e.g. Matthew 5:23-24, Luke 11:4, Matthew 6:14-15.

P: Father, help us not to hold grudges. May we forgive as You have forgiven us. In Jesus' name, amen.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
Forgiveness is the key that releases you from the chains of the past, they key that brings freedom to live again
Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves - to get well and move on.

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

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

There's still time to stop doing evil and turn back to God


S: Isaiah 1:15-20 "So when you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you multiply prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are covered with blood.
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.
Come now, and let us reason together,"
Says the Lord,
"Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.
If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword."
Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

O: Here we are at the start of a new year. Many evil things happened in 2012, and we personally may have done some of them (though perhaps not as great as the things we've seen on the news.)

However, God continues to call the us back to Him. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) God is the God of second chances.

A: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) So how will we escape punishment if we reject the important message, the message that God saved us? (Hebrews 2:3) Take this new year opportunity to turn to God now!

P: Father, thank You for Your great salvation. In Jesus' name, amen.

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