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.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Study on Ephesians 1

God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing! Wow! He chose us before the beginning of the world! Is that awesome or what? We are redeemed by Jesus’ blood! And sealed with the Holy Spirit.

And His power is incomparably great. Jesus is far above every ruler in the world. All things are under Christ’s feet!

And this is being written to a first century church that was small, politically powerless, etc. How much more can we take courage in our current circumstances?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Study on Galatians 6

6:1-10 All of us have sinned, so when we see someone else sin, instead of being self-righteous, we should seek to bring them to repentance and restoration.

At the same time, we should not gloss over sin. Sin has consequences and we will reap them if we sin. So we must keep on doing good to all, especially our brothers & sisters in Christ.

6:11-18 As Paul signs off, he again warns against the judaizers. We can’t boast in our rituals, only in Christ.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Study on Galatians 5

Christ set us free! So let’s not get caught up in the slavery of legalism. “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” Wow… so easy to say, so hard to do, especially when we consider the list of sins in verses 19-21.

But it is true that as we walk in the Spirit over the years, we grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Not there yet, but keep at it!

Father, as I face temptations, keep me walking in the Spirit! In Jesus’ name, amen!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Study on Galatians 4

4:1-7 We get to call God daddy because He has adopted us as His children. We get to inherit God’s blessings.

4:8-28 Because we have this blessing, been adopted as children of God, let’s not go back to become enslaved in observing special days, and other old testament laws.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Study on Galations 3

The Galatians knew that they received salvation by faith. However, upon the influence of the Judaizers, they had started to think that maybe they needed to add to what Christ had done.

The just shall live by faith -- so Paul isn't saying that we shouldn't have good works, but that good works are not for the purpose of salvation. Good works are our response to the grace that God has already shown us by Christ's sacrifice.

"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." (3:28) Here is the original human rights declaration. At the time Paul wrote this, it was normal to practice racism, slavery, and sexism. (Similar sentiments are expressed in Colossians 3:11.)

Many Malaysian Christians, like the society around us, are still racist. I know a lot of us complain about the racism shown against non-Malays, but many of us also show racism towards others. Even things like refusing to rent properties to people of the "wrong race", etc. and I can't count the number of times fellow Chinese-Malaysian Christians have said racist things against Indians and Malays.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Study on Galatians 2

Gal 2:11-14 None of our human leaders, however godly and Spirit-led, are perfect. Peter was truly chosen by Jesus to lead the church after Jesus’ ascension, yet even he messed up here under the influence of the Judaizers, and Paul had to pull him back to the right path.

Gal 2:21 “I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!” It would be pointless for Jesus to die on the cross if we could work out way to salvation. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Study on Galatians 1

What’s the “other gospel” that the Galatians are being beguiled by? (Galatians 1:6) If I’m not mistaken, it’s the Judaizers -- who wanted to add the works of the law to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We often get the impression from the 4 Gospel accounts that the Pharisees were dead set against Jesus. But actually, many Pharisees became Christians -- their belief in the resurrection (as opposed to their rivals the Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the resurrection.)

These Pharisee Christians ended up trying to influence the church to make the Gentiles essentially become Jewish proselytes first -- and follow the Old Testament Law -- to be “real” Christians.

But how do we actually get rescued? “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen.” (Galatians 1:3-5)

Salvation is by grace through faith, not of works. It is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8). Jesus did it all. We can’t add to it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Study on John 21

Ikan bakar - the Jesus dish 😜

Peter’s 3-fold restoration, to reaffirm him after his 3-fold denial before the crucifixion.

‘So the saying circulated among the brothers and sisters that this disciple was not going to die. But Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but rather, “If I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours?”’ -- John was the only apostle who lived to a ripe old age instead of being martyred.

“There are many other things that Jesus did. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

I find it interesting that he stopped here, instead of going on to the ascension. I wonder why?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Study on John 20

Interesting that John got to the tomb first but didn’t go in, but he believed.

“Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” -- so he didn’t ascend to the Father until after this? Before the ascension? Because he allowed Thomas to touch him later.

Jesus appeared to the disciples on Sunday evening and breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.” But the Holy Spirit didn’t come until Pentecost. So was Jesus predicting the coming of the Holy Spirit, or was this the infilling of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.” That’s us!

“Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Sometimes we try to tell people too much, but John was selective what he told, because he had a clear purpose in mind.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Study on John 19

Pilate thought he had authority but his authority was only was given to him from above. As it turned out, he couldn’t resist the Jewish leaders’ machinations to get Jesus executed -- because God allowed that, so that Jesus would die for the sins of the world.

Though, Pilate did have his last laugh against the Jewish leaders, “The King of the Jews” -- “What I have written, I have written.”

Verse 24 quotes from Psalm 22. Go read Psalm 22. This was a psalm of David! A millennium before Christ! And yet when you read his psalm, there are so many echoes of what Jesus went through. In fact, Jesus himself quotes the first verse of this psalm, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Even on the cross, Jesus thought of his mother’s well-being, entrusting Mary’s care to John bar Zebedee. (“Bar” is Aramaic for “bin”.)

Verse 30: Jesus said, “It is completed!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. -- Jesus died before the normal length of time for people to die on the cross, as evidenced by verse 33 & 34 (and Mark 15:44 points out that Pilate was surprised Jesus was already dead.)

Why did Jesus die so quickly?
  1. Jesus was unusually tortured before his crucifixion, weakening him (see for an enumeration of these.
  2. Jesus voluntarily gave up his life, and the extra weight of the sins of the world killed him more quickly than just the physical trauma would have.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Study on John 18

Earlier, at the Last Supper, Jesus had told the disciples, (Luke 22:35-38)
Then Jesus said to them, “When I sent you out with no money bag, or traveler’s bag, or sandals, you didn’t lack anything, did you?” They replied, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now, the one who has a money bag must take it, and likewise a traveler’s bag too. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me is being fulfilled.” So they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” Then he told them, “It is enough.”

It should have been obvious that Jesus didn’t mean it literally, for how could 2 swords be enough for so many people?

But our impulsive man of action, Simon Peter, who had told Jesus, "Even if they all fall away, I will not!" (Mark 14:29) now sprung up with his sword to defend Jesus, and cut off Malchus’ ear.

But that was *not* Jesus’ purpose. If Jesus had been the political Messiah so many had yearned for, and which Judas had tried to force his hand for, He would not have told Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath! Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (and healed Malchus’ ear, as Luke 22:51 records.)

So often, I feel like I need to take action to fulfil God’s purpose. But sometimes my actions are not as per God’s plan. At other times, we are supposed to take action. What if we make a mistake? Well, as we saw here, God’s still in control. His purpose will be fulfilled.

Peter in fact makes a worse mistake later -- denying Jesus 3 times. But that was still not the end of Peter. Because he repented, God restored him and he went on to become the leader of the Christians after Jesus’ ascension.

Contrast that with Judas’ mistake. He ended up committing suicide instead of repenting.

Making mistakes or sin even against Jesus directly isn’t a dead end -- it only becomes a dead end if you don’t repent.

So, when we sin, we must repent. Jesus already paid the price - let’s not stay down, repent and get back up and get back to following Him!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Study on John 17

The world hates us because we don’t belong to the world. But Jesus doesn’t want the Father to take us out of the world, but only to be kept safe. We still have a task in the world.

Jesus’ prayer applies to us as well (17:20) And the love as well.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Study on John 16

Jesus warned them about persecution so that they won’t fall away. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.

The Orthodox and Catholics claim that this means that the Holy Spirit will prevent the church as a whole from straying into heresy -- the Orthodox says this Holy Spirit preservation happens when there are Ecumenical Councils (meetings where every recognized branch of the church send representatives, to decide on doctrinal issues), while the Catholics say that, in addition to Ecumenical Councils, the Holy Spirit will prevent the Pope from making any doctrinal mistake when speaking Ex Cathedra (making official doctrinal teaching).

What does it mean, if we don’t believe in these (Catholic & Orthodox) things? We can’t say it means that the Holy Spirit preserves individual Christians from error, because that’s clearly not the case. Many of us have experienced the Holy Spirit’s guidance, but we have also seen in both ourselves and in others where mistakes happen and someone thinks that it was the Holy Spirit’s guidance when it wasn’t. I honestly don’t have a good reply to the Catholics and Orthodox about this issue.

At the end of the chapter, he goes back to the topic of persecution. “You will be scattered” and “In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.”

Indeed, we can take courage -- it’s like watching a prerecorded game where we already know which side wins -- there may be trouble along the way, but the outcome is sure.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Study on John 15

15:2 “He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit.” Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! But so necessary. Yet we are always praying for a nice easy comfortable life. Hmm…

What does it mean to abide/remain in Christ? Part of it appears to be answered in 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you” -- having His Word in my life -- and 15:10 “If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.”

Here’s the balance between the fact that we don’t earn our salvation -- it’s paid for already by Jesus -- and the fact that obedience to God is central to the Christian life. We don’t earn God’s approval, but we will not have the abundant life if we don’t obey.

But we don’t obey like slaves, but as friends and children -- due to love. (15:9-17)

And don’t be surprised if the world hates us -- they hated Jesus first. (15:18-27)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Study on John 14

14:1-4 Jesus knew great tribulation was coming, so he reassured his disciples that in the end, they had an awesome home in eternity. This is the blessed hope that is why so many martyrs bravely faced torture and death, including every single one of the apostles that he was addressing, except John (and John did suffer torture though he survived and died of old age.)

14:5-14 Jesus is the way. We can believe because of the miracles he did. When we see Jesus, we’ve seen our Father in Heaven. And, somehow, we will perform even greater miracles!

I have seem small miracles (e.g. at the Supernatural Encounter last month), but I honestly can’t say I’ve seen greater miracles. Back when I was under the influence of dispensationalist Christians, they used to weasel out of this by saying that the greater miracle was the spreading of the Gospel.

14:15-31 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Clearly I don’t love Jesus enough! Since I still disobey every so often!

But thank God for the Advocate, indwelling us and leading us.

Satan has no power over Jesus -- similarly, has no power over us -- except what the Father permits.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Study on John 13

Washing the disciples feet: It’s a little odd that this didn’t become a regular practice in the church. (Except the pope does it once a year.) It’s a good reminder of what it means to be a leader in Christ.

13:21 Jesus was greatly distressed. Being fully God, Jesus knew he was going to suffer and be executed. Being fully human, Jesus felt the stress of his impending suffering and execution.

13:34 Loving one another is to characterize us as Christians. I fall so far short of this -- my selfish human nature keeps getting in the way. I need to learn as John the Baptist did, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Study on John 12

6 days before the Passover, Jesus again visits Mary, Martha & Lazarus. It was at this occasion that Mary anointed his feet with expensive nard and Judas acted indignant at the “waste”. Because of the miracle of raising Lazarus, many Jews were attracted to Jesus, so the Jewish leaders even wanted to kill Lazarus in addition to Jesus! I am struck by how often John reminds us that Jesus’ miracles only served to inflame the Jewish leaders -- so blinded were they.

After the Triumphal Entry, even at this time, there were Greeks who wanted to see Jesus (12:20). The Gospel is not for "our own people" only, but for all peoples.

“Now my soul is greatly distressed. And what should I say? ‘Father, deliver me from this hour’? No, but for this very reason I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Jesus didn't avoid suffering because it was necessary for his mission. How often do I not do my mission just to avoid suffering?

12:42-43 “Nevertheless, even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess Jesus to be the Christ, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”

Two things to note here:

First: there were actually many of the Sanhedrin who believed in Jesus. In fact, there were so many Pharisees who believed in Jesus that they became a problem for the early church -- they were the Judaizers that Paul argued against.

Secondly, how often do I hide my Christianity because of loving praise from men more than praise from God? Maybe not hiding our Christianity, but hiding our Bible-informed opinions? I personally know that I have refrained from voicing out objections to the homosexual agenda among my liberal American friends, because I knew I would be ridiculed.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Study on John 11

Jesus deliberately delayed going to see his good friend Lazarus so that a greater miracle would happen. Mary & Martha had to suffer first to have the greater joy later. But Mary & Martha really did suffer, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Previously Mary seemed the more spiritually matured one (when Martha complained that Mary was sitting at the Master’s feet instead of helping serve the food) but now Martha seemed to have learned her lesson, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will grant you.” Martha seemed to have the faith for Jesus to resurrect Lazarus even before the fact.

Jesus wasn’t immune to Mary & Martha’s suffering, however: here’s the shortest verse in the Bible: 11:35 Jesus wept.

I used to wonder, why did Jesus weep when he knew he was going to resurrect Lazarus presently? But then I listened to the Adventures In Odyssey episode when Connie was mourning over Mitch’s death, not realizing that Mitch was really alive and hidden by the FBI, and I felt myself tearing up over her sorrow. Maybe it’s like that -- Jesus had empathy with Mary’s suffering even though he knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead.

In this case, Mary & Martha saw in their lifetime why Jesus delayed, why Jesus allowed them to suffer first. Many a time we don’t see in this lifetime why God delayed, why God allows us to suffer, and we just have to trust that we have a loving yet omnipotent God and we can trust Him.

I find it interesting that the Bible affirms that Caiaphas, a bad high priest, had a true prophecy because God honoured his position in spite of his personal character. Reminds me of my Jesus-following Catholic friends’ assertion that the Holy Spirit still prevents the Pope from teaching officially any incorrect doctrine, even if the person holding that position may be a bad person.

Again, we see the theme of the Jewish leaders being so caught up in their own designs that they ignore a blatant miracle (this time, the raising of Lazarus) and become more determined to kill Jesus.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Study on John 10

What does it mean for the sheep to hear his voice? Not everyone hears word directly from the Lord. We recognize the Jesus loves us and has our best interest at heart. So we need to read His Word so even if we don't get Word of Knowledge directly from Him we still know what He says.

Jesus’ miracles are evidence that his claim to be the Son of God is true. John the Baptist didn't have miracles, but his predictions about Jesus came true.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Study on John 9

1-12 We shouldn't assume that a person's troubles are their own fault.

13-34 The Pharisees again got so caught up in their theology they missed the wonderful miracle.

35-41 Claiming to be able to see when blind is worse than just being blind.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Study on John 8

1-11 The woman caught in adultery. “Whoever who has no sin, may cast the first stone.” Even non-Christians love this story. Strangely, it’s not in the most reliable oldest copies of the Gospel according to John, so it may have been a well-loved story in the church added to it later.

12-20 God the Father bears witness to Jesus. Again the authorities couldn’t arrest him because his time had not yet come.

21-59 Jesus exposed the priests and Pharisees. Everyone who sins is a slave to sin (v 34) Before Abraham was, I AM (v58) Jesus declared that he is YHWH.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Study on John 7

1-12 At this point, even Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe in him yet. (Though later, his brother James would become the leader of the church in Jerusalem.

When I read this passage years ago, I thought, “Was Jesus misleading his brothers that he wasn’t going to Jerusalem? Since he went secretly later?” But, as Thomas pointed out earlier in the discussion, it was just a matter of proper timing.

13-31 Jesus’ teaching wasn’t like the regular religious leaders’ teachings. Jesus pointed out the folly of being legalistic about the Sabbath.

“When Jesus said this, the people tried to grab him. But no one was able to even touch him, because the right time for him had not yet come.” This reinforces what Thomas said about timing earlier. God’s ultimately in control.

32-53 Jesus’ teaching was so amazing that even the temple police couldn't make themselves arrest Jesus when the priests told them to. The Jewish leaders couldn’t get over their idea that a prophet cannot come from Galilee.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Study on John 6

1-15 After Jesus fed the 5000, the people wanted to make him king, so Jesus left and went into the hills alone.

Jesus was focused on his real mission, and did not allow himself to be distracted by the allure of power.

16-21 “Hantu!” “Bukan, Tuhan.” (c/f our discussion on this in Mark.)

22-71 The people were interested in Jesus because of the miracle of the loves & fish. But the physical bread isn’t the important thing -- more important is the spiritual bread of Jesus’ eternal life: “Believe in the one He sent.”

People were offended that we had to eat his body and drink his blood for eternal life. I find it interesting that because of this, many of his followers left and stopped following him (v66) but Jesus didn’t change his teaching for them. Instead, he only affirmed the 12 apostles… even Judas Iscariot.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Study on John 5

1-18 The lame man at the pool of Bethzatha had his fixation on one way of healing, but Jesus had another miracle for him.

Do I sometimes expect Jesus to solve my problem in a particular way, and am blind to other ways that Jesus might have for me?

But some Jews were so fixated on the fact that Jesus healed on the Sabbath that they blinded themselves to the great miracle God had wrought. They even became more determined to kill Jesus!

Is there any way in which we also get too blinded by our particular issues that we miss what God is doing?

19-47 God gave Jesus the power to judge. Eternal life is in the Son. Moses testified to Jesus.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Study on John 4

1-42 Jesus and the Samaritan Woman. Jesus transcended his own culture’s restrictions - he was a holy man; she was an immoral woman. He was a Jew, she was a Samaritan (read Ezra/Nehemiah to see how the hatred between the Jews and Samaritans started.)

She tried to divert the conversation from her own sin to general theology. Jesus didn’t rub her face in it, but still steered it back to her personal relationship with God.

As a result, virtually the whole village came to know the Gospel.

The disciples were blind to all these things at first. They didn’t even think of the Samaritans as a people group to reach out to.

What are our own blind spots?

43-54 Galilee. At this point, in contrast to another time, they welcomed Jesus because of what they had seen him do in Jerusalem.

The basiliko in Capernaum’s son was sick, but Jesus didn’t go -- he just told him, “Go home, your son will live” and the man believed, and the son was healed remotely.