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, April 27, 2013

Balancing Truth & Tact


S: Leviticus 26:1 Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars, or sculptured stones in your land so you may worship them. I am the Lord your God.

O: I've been reading the Manga Bible series with my 5½-year-old daughter Joni lately, and we just completed Manga Melech and started Manga Messenger.

As we read the stories, it became very clear to Joni that God viewed it very seriously when the people of God abandon the worship of the Immortal Invisible God and start worshipping statues.

At the same time, as we live here in Selangor, Malaysia, we see statues being worshipped everywhere because many of our friends and family belong to religions that use statues in their worship. We also live in a society that is traditionally very racist and religiously-discriminatory, and we want to bring up our children to eschew such bigotry.

My children attend a predominantly Chinese-Malaysian preschool and on one occasion they innocently pick up a racist word from some of their friends and we have been trying to teach them not to use such words. We tell them that is not polite.

But as we teach our children about how seriously God views the worship of statues, we also are concerned that they might then tell their friends in an offensive manner -- friends whose families use statues in their worship.

A: The Bible is very clear about the importance of worshiping the immortal invisible God alone, and not any man-made thing. I wrote an article years ago about this topic, and how Christians should not fear idols.

But now my wife and I are faced with how to teach our children to hold to the truth of scripture regarding idols while being tactful in how we talk about it to our friends who do not share our beliefs. It does not do any good to be offend people needlessly.

P: Father, give us wisdom as we bring up Joni and Hannah in the Lord. Help us to teach them how to balance Biblical Truth and tact. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Treat foreigners well


S: Leviticus 19:33-34 Don't mistreat any foreigners who live in your land. Instead, treat them as well as you treat your own people and love them as much as you love yourself. Remember, you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

O: The Levitical Law isn't in force on us as new testament believers, but I think the principle for this continues.

Tenaganita's Irene Fernandez Mistreatment of foreign workers in Malaysia is rampant. Employers mistreat them. Police extort money from them. They're overworked, underpaid, etc. I shudder to think what judgement God might have in store for Malaysia if we continue in this way.

Tenaganita has many times in the past pointed out some of these abuses. Yet nothing seems to change. A lot of it is tied up in the current corrupt political system, but a lot of it is also tied up in ordinary Malaysians' attitudes and prejudices against foreigners. Foreign maids abused

Time and again I have heard good Christian Malaysians voice out prejudiced statements against foreigners -- that they bring crime, that they are being given ICs by the corrupt BN government so that they would vote for BN and prevent democratic change in Malaysia, etc.

While I agree that it is wrong for BN to give ICs to foreigners on the condition that they vote for BN, this shouldn't make us ignore what the Bible says against racism, and about treating foreigners properly. Many of us are descendents of immigrants ourselves, and I believe anyone who is willing to uproot themselves and move to another country and work hard should be given a chance.

Sure, if they commit crimes, they should, just like native-born people, be given a fair trial and punished if found guilty. But we shouldn't let our angst against BN make us victimize other people.

A: Yes, by all means, let us work against corruption and bring down the BN government, but let us also treat foreign workers with compassion and the love of Christ. As Christians, we should be the first the speak up against abuse of foreigners.

P: Father, I beg your mercy upon Malaysia. Please forgive us for how nastily we have treated foreigners in our midsts. May Malaysian change our attitudes and become more conformed to You. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Suffering Servant is Good News


S: Isaiah 52:7-10 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the Lord restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand. Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

O: This is the great Messianic passage of Isaiah's, where he prophesied details about how the Messiah would suffer. However, after the suffering, He would be exalted, and intercede for the transgressors. This is indeed Good News -- for we are the transgressors -- He was pierced for our transgressions, and by His stripes, we are healed.

Some people have disputed the interpretation of applying this passage to the Messiah, saying that it applies to Israel. Here are some reasons why it must refer to the Messiah and cannot refer to Israel. Ancient learned Jews shared this interpretation.

A: Let us respond to His great sacrifice for us by receiving the grace and forgiveness offered and responding by following Him.

P: And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior's blood? Died he for me who caused his pain! For me who him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Payback time

S: Leviticus 6:1-5 The Lord told Moses what the people must do when they commit other sins against the Lord: You have sinned if you rob or cheat someone, if you keep back money or valuables left in your care, or if you find something and claim not to have it. When this happens, you must return what doesn't belong to you and pay the owner a fine of 20 percent.

O: Mosaic law has this feature about restitution for the victim which seems to be missing from modern criminal law in most countries. When a person is found guilty of a crime that caused someone else some kind of loss, they must pay them back 120% -- so that the person who suffered the loss will be compensated for their loss.

The closest to this in modern law in most countries is that the injured party could do a civil suit for damages. But that's a separate court case, and not tied into the original criminal court case. The victim must spend his own money to engage lawyers and have a whole 'nother trial. This, I my opinion, a deficiency in most modern legal systems.

A: If you are a lawmaker, then you could try to put forth legislation to correct this injustice in your jurisdiction. However, what is the application here for those of us who are just ordinary citizens?

We as individual believers have our own Spirit-guided conscience which will convict us of sin. When we realise that we have sinned against someone, perhaps the application is that we should, of our own initiative, take action to restore to them what we have cost them, when possible. Yes, the person may still forgive us of that and not require it of us, but perhaps we should offer first?

I must admit that though I have thought that this is a deficiency in the law for a long time, I haven't been really conscious about it all the time with regards to my own conduct. Well, I have left notes on cars that I've nicked in the parking lot, so maybe I'm not all bad ^‿^

P: Father, thank You for Your salvation through Jesus Christ. We could never pay enough restitution to make up for our sins against You -- but Jesus bore the burden for us! In Jesus' name, amen.
Restitution is doing the right thing
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)