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 31, 2015

The just shall live by faith


Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.”

O: Paul was quoting Habakkuk 2:4 when he wrote “The righteous by faith will live.” or as a more familiar translation puts it, “The just shall live by faith.”

Habakkuk had complained to God during the waning days of Judah as an independent kingdom around the 7th century B.C. He observed that bad people were prospering, yet God doesn't seem to be punishing them.

Does that sound familiar? Today we see what Daesh is doing in Syria & Iraq, what Boko Haram is doing in Nigeria the surrounding countries, what the Burmese government is doing to both Muslims and Christians, the blasphemy cases in Pakistan, the heightened persecution in India since the BJP took power, etc. In our own country of Malaysia, we see how the government is eroding our civil liberties and restricting our churches, what with the “Allah” case, the conversion of East Malaysian rural Christians by trickery, the corruption, the gerrymandering and malapportionment, etc.

A: It's easy to despair. But in the end, Habakkuk realized that God is still in control, and we need to trust God even when things look like chaos.
When the fig tree does not bud,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
when the olive trees do not produce,
and the fields yield no crops;
when the sheep disappear from the pen,
and there are no cattle in the stalls,
I will rejoice because of the Lord;
I will be happy because of the God who delivers me!
The sovereign Lord is my source of strength.
He gives me the agility of a deer;
he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain.

― Habakkuk 3:17-19

P: When things seem to be falling apart, help me to remember that You are still in charge, my Lord and Saviour. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Plan B


S: Acts 19:21 After all these things had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem by traveling through Macedonia and Greece. He said, “After I have been there, I must see Rome.”
Acts 20:22-23 “I am determined to go to Jerusalem now. I don’t know what will happen to me there. However, the Holy Spirit warns me in every city that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me.
Acts 21:4 In Tyre we searched for the disciples. After we found them, we stayed there for seven days. The Spirit had the disciples tell Paul not to go to Jerusalem.
Acts 21:10-14 After we had been there for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus arrived from Judea. During his visit he took Paul’s belt and tied his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘This is how the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man who owns this belt. Then they will hand him over to people who are not Jewish.’” When we heard this, we and the believers who lived there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. Then Paul replied, “Why are you crying like this and breaking my heart? I’m ready not only to be tied up in Jerusalem but also to die there for the sake of the Lord, the one named Jesus.” When Paul could not be persuaded, we dropped the issue and said, “May the Lord’s will be done.”

O: The Holy Spirit warned Paul time and time again not to go to Jerusalem, but Paul was determined to go. He saw the great turning to Christ among the Gentiles, and he longed to see a similar turning to Christ among his own people, the Jews. So Paul allowed his own desires to cloud his judgment and he managed to rationalize disobeying the clear command of the Holy Spirit, saying, “Why are you crying like this and breaking my heart? I’m ready not only to be tied up in Jerusalem but also to die there for the sake of the Lord, the one named Jesus.”

However, God did not abandon Paul because of this disobedience. Indeed, Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and spent at least 4 years in captivity as a result. Who knows what plans God may have had for him in those two or three years? But God still used Paul in prison — He used that time to inspire Paul to write several epistles, and also used Paul to lead many of Caesar's soldiers to Christ.

A: Even a great man of God like Paul messed up. And he wasn't the only one — Abraham, David, Peter, they all messed up. Yet God did not abandon them. God still had a Plan B for them.

So, if you find that you have messed up, that you've disobeyed God, that you have deluded yourself somehow to think that your own desire is God's plan, don't give up! He still can use you, just as he did Paul.

P: Father, thank You that you're ever merciful and give us second chances. When I mess up, may I quickly get up, repent, and return to following You. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: Some Christians disagree with the interpretation that Paul had disobeyed God in insisting to return to Jerusalem. This is mainly due to the ambiguity of translation of verses like Acts 19:21 and Acts 20:22. The Greek is ambiguous: the word "spirit" can mean a person resolved to do something. However, if you compare many translations, for example using, you can see that only some of the translations translate this as "Spirit" — others translate it as "spirit", while others translate it as "decided to" or "determined" or "resolved to."

Given that God sent several prophecies to warn Paul not to go back to Jerusalem, including one by the same Agabus who accurately predicted the Judean famine, I think it makes a lot more sense to interpret it this way. These web pages have a more detailed discussion of this issue:
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015



S: 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

O: This verse has been quoted in modern English many times to mean that our personal bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. That's not what the Greek says, apparently. "Οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ναὸς Θεοῦ ἐστε, καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα τοῦ Θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν" I don't know Greek, but I'm told by people who know Greek that the "you" here is plural Even the King James Version, which was translated from the Greek back before English lost the ability to distinguish between the singular and plural second pronoun, says "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" -- Note that it says "ye are the temple of God" and "dwelleth in you" (plural) not "thou art the temple of God" and "dwelleth in thee" (singular). This is also clear in the Chinese translation " 难道你们不知道自己是上帝的殿宇吗?不知道上帝的灵生活在你们心中吗?" "你们" is plural you. German "Denkt also daran, dass ihr Gottes Tempel seid und dass Gottes Geist in euch wohnt!" "Ihr" is plural.

That means that I am not the temple of the Holy Spirit. We in community are the temple of the Holy Spirit (and the Father, and the Son.)

There is a stream within modern Christian thought that "Me, the Bible and Jesus" is all that is necessary. I have heard it said so many times by sincere Christians "You are the temple of the Holy Spirit!" meaning you, singular.

But even aside from this verse, Hebrews 10:24-25 points out "And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near."

The word "church" itself is a translation of εκκλησία, which I am told, meant "gathering" or "assembly" in Koine Greek. (That's the dialect of Greek that the New Testament was written in.)

A: We are not meant to be lone ranger Christians. We need each other. We need the positive peer pressure, and when two or three are gathered in Jesus' name, then He is with us (Matthew 18:20) Let us not neglect meeting together regularly, encouraging one another to love and good deeds! (Hebrews 10:24-25)

P: Father, when we feel like our church is not "feeding" us, when we feel "tired of going to church" remind us to look for ways to improve it rather than to run away and be lone ranger Christians. In Jesus' name, amen.

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