Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates

A Yorkshireman's take on life, death, and eternity

Introducing Blogging Psalms

Dear readers,

You may have come across my other, now completed blog http://www.bloggingproverbs.wordpress.com.

Well now that I’ve finished that, I’m embarking upon blogging Psalms at http://www.bloggingpsalms.WordPress.com

Come and check it out if you like πŸ™‚

God bless,

Robert

 

 

 

 

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Blogging Proverbs is complete!

Blogging Proverbs (www.bloggingproverbs.wordpress.com) is completed! I know pride is a sin, but I am “chuffed” (really pleased!) to have completed this passion project.

My only regret is that it hasn’t been more widely received, although to be honest I haven’t promoted it very well!

Now my task is to turn it into a book! Next stop is to blog about the Psalms.

To those who did read, like and/or comment, especially Ryan Callahan and Jeff, many thanks- your interaction encouraged me that it wasn’t just me being blessed!

And if you’re new to Blogging Proverbs, don’t worry, I’m going to keep it out there for posterity!

I’ll do another post introducing my Psalms blog, but for now, why not pop over to Blogging Proverbs and have a browse? πŸ™‚

Goodbye for now, and God bless,

Robert

Build

a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Ecclesiastes 3:3 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/ecc.3.3.ESV

This verse is part of the famous passage about there being a time for everything under the sun. Surely there shouldn’t be a time to kill, you may protest! But the reason God kills us with death is because of our iniquities- the stain of our sins. Thankfully they can be washed away in the blood of Jesus- killed for us. But we still have to actively kill sin in our lives, or it will kill us.

There’s a time to kill and a time to heal. Once you’ve killed the addiction of a besetting sin, it’s time to heal. It’s not by might or power but by God’s Holy Spirit. And it’s by Christ’s wounds we are healed.

There’s a time to break down. My young daughter is in that stage. She hardly knows how to build building blocks- but she knows how to break down. To give a spiritual example- I needed to break down my sin of my sexual immorality before I could build a relatively healthy marriage.

God opposes the proud- He breaks them down- later if not sooner. But He gives grace to the humble- He builds them up. We all know people who need knocking down a peg or two- which is best left to God. But we should always be looking out for how we can build each other up.

“God, please grant us the discernment to see what kind of times we’re living in. Is it a time to kill sin, or to heal from its harmful effects? Is it a time to deconstruct or to build? Please reveal it to us in Jesus’ name, amen”

Cup

For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.

Psalms 75:8 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.75.8.ESV

God’s wrath at our wickedness is pictured as a poisoned chalice of wine. And it’s not like we can refuse it, wicked though we are. Our destiny is to drain it to the dregs.

But in the very next verse Asaph the Psalmist declares that he will forever sing praises to Him. How can wicked people like us ever have such assurance? It’s all by the grace of God for us in Christ.

In the New Testament, amazingly, we find the perfect Lord Jesus asking His heavenly Father if it were possible, to take the cup away from Him, but not His will, but His Father’s be done. This was on the night before He was crucified for us. He didn’t deserve the cup of wrath, but He took it for us.

That’s how wicked sinners like us can avoid drinking the cup of God’s wrath, because Jesus took it for us. Instead we enjoy the cup of the New Covenant, the wine symbolising His blood shed for us. All praise to His holy name!

“Father in heaven, how we worship You for sending Your Son to bear Your wrath at our sin. Thank You that we no longer need suffer condemnation for our wickedness. In Jesus’ name, amen”

Italian fashion! :)

Italians take their fashion very seriously, and my wife is no exception.

Yesterday she got her outfit sorted for our daughter’s 1st birthday party on Sunday afternoon.

Today was my turn, and this photo is the outcome of an afternoon of shopping (not my favourite pastime!)- complete with labels from the shops!

Hopefully we’ll have more sightseeing to come (on the first day we wandered round the city) πŸ™‚

Rejection

O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?

Psalms 74:1 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.74.1.ESV

To the Jews credit, when they were in exile in Babylon, they never forgot their homeland. All the other peoples exiled by Babylon were swallowed up by Babylonian culture. But the Jews didn’t forget their God or the promised land.

As Christians, we are strangers and exiles in this world, on pilgrimage to the new creation. Do we ever feel that same kind of yearning that the Jews felt in Babylon- that longing for home? If we’re honest, does it sometimes feel like God’s rejected us?

It might feel like God has cast us off forever. But if we are His people of faith, then even if we feel like that for a lifetime, there’s an eternity to come in His presence. God may seem to reject us in our lives, but for eternity His people will know His full and unconditional acceptance and love.

It might seem that God is unrelenting angry with us. It might seem that everything’s going wrong in our lives. We might think He has some justification. But His anger may seem disproportionately much. Again however, in the light of eternity it will seem as nothing compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing and enjoying Him forever in glory.

“Oh God, when we feel overwhelmed, rejected and opposed by You, help us to take those feelings to You and to gain an eternal perspective. In Jesus Christ’s name, amen”

Envy

Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.

Psalms 73:1‭-‬2 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.73.1-2.ESV

This is one of the more famous Psalms, and needfully so, because it addresses something many of us struggle with as God’s people- the envy of the evil. Why would I envy the evil? – you might righteously protest! Because they often seem to have it so easy!

They seem to have no worries and just spend their days eating, drinking and being merry. The wicked often seem to prosper while the righteous struggle to get by. Asaph was nearly upended in his faith by this injustice.

We need to read the rest of the Psalm to get the answer to this injustice. The first half is Asaph moaning about the easy lives of many ungodly people. But then he enters God’s presence in worship with His people, which gives him a divine perspective.

So what if bad people spend a lifetime a of ease, if they have an eternal comeuppance to come? So what if the pure in heart have a lifetime of woe if they have eternal rest to come? At the time it’s easy or tough, depending on who you are. But in eternity it will all pale into insignificance.

“Heavenly Father, please grant us that eternal perspective that is philosophical about the troubles of this life, and is filled with hope for a wonderful eternity to come. For Your glory, amen”

Italian holiday :)

I’m in Italy visiting my wife’s family. Apologies if you’re tea total, but we’ve already cracked open the wine! It’s my daughter’s first birthday tomorrow and my wife’s 30th on Tuesday so the celebrations have already begun.

Expect more photo updates of our holiday in the days to come. I’ll keep on with my devotionals too God willing.

Ciao for now!

House

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

John 14:1‭-‬2 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/jhn.14.1-2.ESV

Jesus had been warning His disciples of His impending crucifixion on their behalf. Understandably they were troubled. But we don’t need to let external, troublesome circumstances allow our internal heartfelt trust in God to be shaken.

I know from being mentally ill in the past that when we internalise external troubles, it’s really bad for us. Far better to wholeheartedly believe in God to carry us through sufferings to a glorious eternity. Easier said than done though!

Note how Jesus doesn’t berate His anguished disciples, but gently encourages them. He’s the one about to die, and yet He’s consoling them! He wasn’t even preoccupied with Himself in His dying moments.

Jesus has gone before us. He defeated death on the third day, and is now preparing a place for us with Father God. There’s plenty of room for anyone who wants to dwell in glory with the Saviour, and that includes you and I!

“Heavenly Father, we’re so grateful that there’s room for us in Your home in glory, help us not to be worried, through our Lord Jesus, in whose name we pray, amen”

Love

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

John 13:34 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/jhn.13.34.ESV

Some people rather simplistically and erroneously summarise the Old Testament as Law and the New Testament as Grace. Well here, the inaugurator of the New Covenant introduces a new law. To be honest, it looks pretty similar to the summary of the old laws of God!

The summary of the Old Covenant Law is to love God wholeheartedly, and to love others as we love ourselves. Well here, Jesus sets the bar even higher! As He has loved us, so we are to love others.

Jesus loved us so much that He gave His life for us. That’s how much we should love one another. We should be prepared to die for one another.

One could attempt to keep the letter of the old testament- not to commit adultery or murder for example. But Jesus calls us to keep the spirit of the law- not to lust or hate for example. By His blood our law breaking is forgiven; and by His Spirit we’re empowered to keep His law better.

“Lord, help us to see that there isn’t the contradiction between law and grace that many claim. Help us by Your grace to keep Your law, and be gracious to us if we fail. For Your glory, amen”

11 Answers To Questions About Me :)

The silver birches in our front garden πŸ™‚

1. What’s your favorite Bible verse at the moment?

Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord ; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 41:14 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/isa.41.14.ESV

I love it because by calling Jacob a worm, God cuts through all that “you are amazing” stuff that people blog! You might think you’re amazing, but compared to God we’re worms, albeit beloved ones! πŸ˜€

2. Who’s family for you?

Mum, dad, oldest brother and his family, next oldest brother, younger sister, auntie, and all my wife’s side of the family πŸ™‚ and our daughter of course!

3. Who are your closest friends?

Most of my closest friends have emigrated to places like New Zealand and Canada, so they’re not close geographically

4. What’s your favorite YouTube channel?

I don’t watch much YouTube, but I like Off The Kirb ministries.

5. If you could have a second home anywhere in the world, where would it be?

My in laws home is like a second home in Italy, but it would be a dream to have our own place out there?

6. What was the last song you listened to?

My wife singing a made up song “Take me back to LA”! She made a joyful noise!

7. What’s your favorite form of social media (apart from WordPress!) and why?

Does WhatsApp count because I’m not very active on social media!

8. What’s your local church like?

A relatively aged congregation, but really loving and welcoming, with a pastoral pastor πŸ™‚

9. Do you have a garden? If so, describe it πŸ™‚

Yes, a bit of an overgrown wilderness, apart from when I occasionally cut the grass and prune it! I love the two silver birches in the front garden though πŸ™‚

10. What’s the community you live in like?

People in surrounding communities derogatarily describe it as “toy town” because it’s a new series of housing estates with a few shops, a park and a few schools. But it’s actually a really nice, peaceful place to live

11. What would you like to study more?

Obviously the Bible. I read it and write about it, but I don’t really study it in depth…

Feel free to answer the questions for yourselves πŸ™‚

Sunshine Blogger Award (2)

The logo wasn’t uploading so I’ll try again later!

I’ve recieved another Sunshine Blogger Award, from Gail at “Gail loves God”- thanks for the encouragement sister!

The rules-
1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo
2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you
3. Answer the 11 questions given to you
4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

1. Do you know how much Jesus loves you?? Because He surely does!

I know He loves me, but I’m not sure I’ll ever plumb the depths of it, and His love for me still amazes me to this day.

2. Do you know how many books are in the bible?

66 I believe, the same the number of chapters in Isaiah. I believe the first book of the New Testament Matthew is the 40th book, and the 40th chapter of Isaiah is when he starts getting especially encouraging!

3. What kind of weather are you having in your area?

Dull, cloudy and cool, typical British weather!

4. Can you name someone you know who is already in heaven waiting on you?

My grandad, who came to faith on his deathbed shortly before I came to faith

5. What makes you smile?

My daughter Grace is my biggest source of smiles at the moment (I suppose the answer should be God ultimately!)

6. Do you have a favorite hymn?

At the moment? “The man who calmed the sea” by Stuart Townend

7. Who was the last person you sent a text to?

My wife was the joint recipient of my latest devotional that I texted several people! πŸ™‚

8. Who was the last person you hugged?

A man at church this morning whose wife is ill

9. Have you written out your testimony of salvation? (link below if you have or do)

Yes, but I can always do it again πŸ™‚

10.Have you ever read the bible completely through?

Every year for the last few years, thanks to a daily reading Bible a friend gave me πŸ™‚

11. How many blogs do you have? Several, but “roberlain/Watching Daily At Wisdom’s Gates” is by far the most active. Some are dormant and one or two pretty much extinct! “Blogging Proverbs” is complete, and “Blogging Psalms” is a work in occasional progress. One that I’d like to revive is the “99 beautiful names” blog, which adapts islamic names for allah and applies them to the One True God.

I nominate Mrs Mariposa, Julia Jean, Georgetown Rose, Matt at People of His Word, Cecilia Bacon, Valerie Cullers, Jennifer Arimborgo, Lydia Potter, Elisha, Efua and Shiela (sorry, I’m not good at links and tagging!).

There’s no obligation to follow up on this, only if you want to πŸ™‚

My 11 questions are as follows…

1. What’s your favorite Bible verse at the moment?

2. Who’s family for you?

3. Who are your closest friends?

4. What’s your favorite YouTube channel?

5. If you could have a second home anywhere in the world, where would it be?

6. What was the last song you listened to?

7. What’s your favorite form of social media (apart from WordPress!) and why?

8. What’s your local church like?

9. Do you have a garden? If so, describe it πŸ™‚

10. What’s the community you live in like?

11. What would you like to study more?