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, February 22, 2014

The letter kills but the Sprit gives life


S: 2 Chronicles 30:17-20 Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the Lord. Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the Lord listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.

O: People sometimes think that the God of the Old Testament was all about the letter of the law while the God of the New Testament is more about the spirit of the law. This passage illustrates that this isn't the case. God doesn't change (Malachi 3:6); Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

Sometimes, we as Christians who take the Bible seriously, can fall into the same trap the Pharisees of Jesus' day fell into. We get so fixated on the "dos" and "don'ts" that we forget that God is love (1 John 4:8) and He provides grace in His love to cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Some homosexual activists have been going to town with Pope Francis, even naming him their "Person of the Year" (well, so did Time Magazine, so the gay pride people are not alone.) In fact, Pope Francis did not change the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality -- a teaching which is virtually the same for Evangelical Christians.

Pope Francis was emphasizing the need for grace and winsomeness. The Gospel means "good news", yet so often Christians end up communicating it in a way that hearers hear it as "bad news". Jesus welcomed the adulterers and other sinners. The incidents with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-12) and Zacchaeus (Luke 9:1-10) illustrate this.

A: We need to have a balance between communicating God's standards and His grace. Eschew legalism, share the love of God that was so great that He sent His only begotten Son while we were still His enemies to save us. (John 3:16, Romans 5:10)

P: Father, help me to speak the truth in love, yet full of grace and truth when I communicate Your principles to my friends. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Trusting God in Troubled Times


S: Habakkuk 1:2-4
How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry,
but you do not come to save.
Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
so that justice has become perverted.

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

O: Habakkuk lived at the time of the final decline of Judah -- the last good king of Judah, Josiah, was dead. From here on out, they would have one bad king after another until the Babylonian conquest. Injustice was rampant, things were only going to get from bad to worse.

Habakkuk cries out to God, asking God why He doesn't seem to be doing anything about this. God replies that He was going to send the Chaldeans (Babylonians) -- that "bitter and hasty nation" (Habakkuk 1:6), whose god is their strength (Habakkuk 1:11) -- to come and destroy Judah!

Habakkuk is aghast! Yes, Judah is wicked, but how is it that God will use this even worse nation to destroy them? Does this mean that people are no different from the fish of the sea? Does might make right? (Habakkuk 1:12-17) Habakkuk decided he would wait for God's answer (Habakkuk 2:1).

God answers that indeed, God would also judge the Chaldeans. The proud may do their evil, but the just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4). The judgment on the Chaldeans will also come upon them at the right time.

In the end, Habakkuk realizes that he can trust God -- even when things are falling apart around him. No matter what, even if the nation is conquered, the ultimate fate of the one who trusts in the Lord is in His hands -- like a mountain goat on a steep cliff, God can guide him through to Eternity safely.

A: Even as we struggle to bring real democracy to Malaysia, even as we see all the injustice around us -- even if we fail in our struggle -- God is still in control. We can still trust in Him.

I recall watching a fantastic "multimedia production" by 2100productions in the '80s on Habakkuk. (Unfortunately, this show is no longer extant, except for the audio track, which you can download here.

Habakkuk 1:2-4 is remarkably apt in describing not only Judah in the 7th century B.C., but also Malaysia today. His message is just as relevant in Malaysia in 2014 as it was in 7th Century B.C. Judah, or in the '80s USA. We see the injustice around us, and we can still trust God in troubled times.

P: Father, may I continue to trust in You. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)