Knowing God: a new, old commandment

The reality of God was never something I’ve really questioned. Sure, I’ve doubted the nature of God, the person of God, and my relationship to this God. In the end, the deciding question for me was whether this divine being would have any implications for my life.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

— 1 John 2:7–11 (ESV)

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Fatherly Follies

Following a recent entry about being a loving husband, my trail of thoughts led me to the matter of fatherhood. In a similar train of thoughts, I’m challenged by the task, should God bless my wife and I with a child.

The role of a father, esepcially in our society today, is an extremely important one. The role model of a male figure, not only in a young girl’s life, but particularly, in a young boy’s life is critical to their upbringing. I won’t begin to delve into the social conundrums that are connected, but there is more than enough reason to encourage greater promotion of fatherhood!

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Before God, which is my primary focus, the words given to the Israelites still ring true today. The word of God is not merely a matter of ancient religion, but a matter of life and death. We live and die by the word of God. It is something that flows through every fibre of our being, while we are sitting, walking, sleeping, eating, and so on. No matter the circumstance, God is there and, as a father, it will be my role to communicate that with my child.

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

The critical action of this proverb is the training of a child. It is not a passive or inactive action. As I reflect on my own life, the model my own dad set for me, plays out in my life today. His reactions, his decisions, his life. The critical point is this: if you model it, it will follow through. If you don’t model it, it will not follow through. There are many things my dad never modelled, and it takes a great deal of effort for me to put those things into practice.

My prayer is the fathers’ of this generation will rise above the chasm in our society, not leaving another generation of fatherless children to fend for themselves in this world. May we see a generation of fathers’ who will raise a generation after the heart of God—Amen.

Deuteronomy: well done, Moses

Cover to Cover

Reading: Deuteronomy 32:48-34:12

Focus: Deuteronomy 34:1-12

The Buddhist have Siddhārtha Gautama (that is, Buddha), the Muslim have Muhammad, the Christians have Jesus and the Jews have Moses. If you say anything against Buddha, Buddhist think you’ll just be reincarnated a bug; if you say anything bad about Muhammed, Muslims will have your head; if you say anything bad about Jesus, the Christians are too concerned about their own internal disputes that they won’t pay you much attention (I should know) and the Jews…may the wrath of the Lord God Almighty be upon your head should you say anything against Moses (I actually don’t know what they’d do…though I doubt you’d be let off so easily).

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Deuteronomy: life’s best…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Deuteronomy 30:1-32:47

Focus: Deuteronomy 30:11-20

The society we live in finds itself dissatisfied with rules, structures, and anything else really that limits their “freedom”. Human nature has never been satisfied with any of these settings and have always sought to break out from them so that they might break new ground and find a new experience of life which they could not have under the old, restricted “regime”. And yet, the cycle continues as these new experiences find themselves subjected to the need for order, structure and form…seriously, after millennia past we still haven’t learnt.

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Deuteronomy: double trouble…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Deuteronomy 28:1-29:29

Focus: Deuteronomy 28:1-6, 15-19

When it comes to the issue of reward and penalty in life, they are polar opposites. For a job well done, there is one reward, for a job not done well, the penalty is often the opposite of the reward. For example, a child that cleans their room may be rewarded with extra helping of desserts at dinner. If the child does not clean their room, dessert is withheld altogether (and they still have to clean their room)! Employment is much the same, though the consequences are far worse.

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Deuteronomy: a people of His own…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Deuteronomy 24:1-27:26

Focus: Deuteronomy 26:16-19

The people of Israel have an interesting story. Starting with God’s calling of Abraham, continuing through Isaac, Jacob, and the 12 sons of Jacob—the namesakes of the 12 tribes of Israel. Through Joseph, the family of Jacob (Israel) was preserved in the prosperity of Egypt and the family grew into a large tribe of people. In time, they were subjected to slavery as a new power rose in Egypt unaware of all that Joseph had done. In their oppression they called out and God heard their cry and the time had come to bring His people out into the fullness of His plans for them.

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