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, May 31, 2014

Probabilities, not Promises


S: Psalm 37 3Trust in the lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. ... 7Be still in the presence of the lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. ... 16It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. 17For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the lord takes care of the godly. ... 25Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. 26The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.

O: Sometimes when we read the Psalms and Proverbs, we read some stuff that is manifestly untrue. Sometimes the good do suffer. Sometimes the evil do prosper — at least in this life. Sometimes we don't see justice done.

As a result, some people lose faith. It seems as if these "promises" in scripture are not being fulfilled.

There are two aspects here. Firstly, these are not "promises" per se, but rather, principles or probabilities. If you do this, things will tend to go well for you — but it is not a promise that it definitely will... at least, not in this life.

That's the second aspect of this: that ultimately God is just and God is judge. Even so, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and God does not want anyone to perish. In a sense, we are all wicked. But God loves us and so while we were still sinners, He sent His Son to die for us, so that we may be saved and spend eternity with Him.

A: So, be good anyway. The principles He gives us does predispose us to a better life, but it not a guarantee of it. But regardless, once we have been covered by the blood of the Lamb of God, we are adopted into His family. So we do good out of a love relationship with God, not to earn merit to gain heaven. And yes, the Lord does help the Godly, rescuing them from the wicked, as it says in Psalm 37:40.

P: Father, when I am tempted to do evil, help me to trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. In Jesus' name, amen.

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

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mourning into dancing


Flickr/Lara Cores, Creative Commons License
S: Psalm 30:5, 11-12
5For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

11You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

O: God is just, but God is also loving. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather wants people to turn to His ways and live.

A: When we suffer, either as a consequence of our own wrongdoing or because of other reasons, we can turn to Him.

P: I sing praises to You and will not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Jesus understands our suffering


S: Psalm 22

O: Jesus quoted the first sentence in this psalm on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Large parts of this psalm applied to Jesus in His suffering leading up to His death, e.g. verses 6-8, 13-18, and 31 ― even to the details of gambling over his clothes (verse 18) and piercing his hands and feet (verse 16).

A: When we are going through a tough time, we often feel like God is far away, that God doesn’t understand.

However, He assures us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are―yet he did not sin. He is with us always, even to the end of the ageFor the LORD listens to the needy and doesn’t despise those in bondage.He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

P: Father, when we are suffering, when we are in the depths of despair, remind us that You understand and are with us and will never forsake us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Imagine God singing this song to you.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Want God to listen to your prayers? Then be faithful to your spouse.


S: Malachi 2:13-16 Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
O: 1 Peter 3:7 says, “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” This passage from Malachi shares the same sentiment.

Unlike the prevailing cultural norms of the day that devalue women, St. Peter points out that women are equal partners in God's gift of new life. (Older translations, e.g. the KJV, say put it as “heirs together of the grace of life”. The prevailing cultural norms of the day allowed men to lord it over their wives, and sometimes treat them as property.

A: Most of us do not regard our spouses as our property anymore, but many of us persist in our selfish ways. I struggle daily to consider Juliane's needs and feelings. I would prefer to just sit in front of the computer and look at Facebook, read my science fiction, etc. but Juliane wants to spend time with me and talk. As a typical man, I find it very hard to talk without a topic, especially in the area of feelings. But I have to discipline myself to do so anyway, because my wife needs it.

In a similar manner, Juliane does many things for me that she might not prefer to do, because it makes me happy. In our mutual giving to each other, and putting each other's needs before our own, we end up becoming more conformed to Christ, and also have a more fulfilling life. A life of selfishness only is gratifying on the short-term. In the long-term, it makes for a shallow and miserable existence without the blessing of God.

Neither of us do this perfectly. In fact, I know that I fall short virtually every day. Time and again we have to ask each other for forgiveness. We're still on the journey of being brought into conformity with Christ. But that shouldn't stop us from aiming in that direction.

P: Father, thank You for the gift of my wife, with whom I am becoming one flesh. Forgive me where I fall short of Your standards, and thank You for forgiveness. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

When the wicked seem to prosper


S: Psalm 10:4-6 The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They sneer at all their enemies.

(Actually, refer to the whole psalm.)

O: Sometimes we see the wicked get their comeuppance in this life, e.g. Adolf Hitler, but many times in life we see the wicked seem to get away with it, e.g. Stalin. We each have less dramatic, but more personally impacting, examples in our own lives.

The psalmist at first despairs about such a situation, but then he reminds himself that God is still in control, and judgment is still coming.

God, however, does not rejoice over the death of the wicked, but desires everyone to come to repentance. For we all, like sheep, have gone astray ― each one of us has turned away from the way of God and gone our own way.

So, in a sense, we are all wicked and we all need God's grace for salvation.

A: We need to look at the wicked with the eyes of Jesus. If they don't repent, they will suffer eternal consequences. But God wants them to repent. He doesn't want anyone to be eternally damned.

P: Father, help us to see human beings not as our enemies, but rather, as victims of our ultimate enemy, the devil. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)