Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates

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

Category: Uncategorized

More about me

Questions taken from John Eli’s blog, check it out, and feel free to have a go yourself!

Name:

Robert Chamberlain

Nicknames:

Trebor as a kid (Robert backwards!)

Mr Switzerland at uni for being neutral!

Usually just Rob nowadays πŸ™‚

Current town:

Stockton-on-Tees, UK

Birthplace:

Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

University:

of Wales, Aberystwyth- International Politics

Societies at uni:

Christian Union

Elizabethan Madrigal Singers (MADS)!

Favorite music:

Varied, but currently listening to Owl City on Spotify πŸ™‚

Favorite food:

Probably Italian, my wife will be pleased! πŸ™‚

What do I do?

Mostly househusbandry!

Why?

Partly because my wife’s the main breadwinner, but also because being a dad’s the best job!

What projects am I on at the moment?

Mostly blogging and vlogging. My personal favourite is http://www.bloggingproverbs.wordpress.com which will hopefully become a book eventually

What would my dream job be?

A writer! I know I write for fun, but it would be great to do it for a job.

Having said that, bringing up our daughter is pretty good too πŸ™‚

What about you? πŸ™‚

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A Christian case for the UK to remain in the EU

I write this article as someone who voted for the UK to leave the EU in the referendum in 2016. Maybe I voted in haste and am repenting at leisure! I think like most British people, I just want Brexit to be resolved one way or the other, so we can get on with our lives!

Many Christians, myself included, have been debating what we think God’s will is in the whole Brexit saga.

I think the UK church has generally been quite good at remaining united in the good news of Christ, despite the fact we’re probably as divided as the rest of the country on Brexit.

To be honest, I’m not sure how helpful pontificating about Brexit is, interesting as I personally find it!

Firstly, as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, he who watches the wind will not reap. In other words, a farmer who spends all his time weather watching isn’t going to harvest anything. In other words, if as Christians, we become obsessed with Brexit or politics in general, we’re not going to see anyone come to faith in Jesus. Our raison d’etre is not to second guess God, but to tell people about Jesus.

Secondly, who has known the mind of our Creator? Who are we to assume we know what God’s up to in Europe? I’m reminded of falsely optimistic prophets in Jeremiah’s day when I see all these “prophetic” declarations that revival’s round the corner in the UK in these days.

Instead of arrogantly assuming we know what God’s plan is for Britain and Europe, why don’t we just faithfully proclaim Christ to Brits and Europeans alike?

Yes, God does reveal many things in His word. There is an argument for the idea that the EU has feet of clay and is doomed to failure: after all, the polities of this world are going to give way to God’s kingdom. But our job isn’t to rebel against Babylon. Our job is to be good citizens of heaven as we live as strangers and exiles in the world.

Because the Christian’s purpose is to proclaim the gospel of God, the EU is a useful vehicle for us to make the most of freedom of movement to declare good news to native Europeans and migrants alike.

In a similar way, the Roman and British Empires were useful vehicles for Christians to preach Christ, without being colonialists ourselves. Paul travelled Roman roads and made the most of his Roman citizenship for the cause of Christ.

The gospel is good news for Brexiteers and Remainers alike. It’s good news for the British, Europeans, and immigrants. Jesus is able to unite Romans and barbarians alike, all people are welcome in His kingdom. We enter as sinners, and He makes us saints as He washes us in His blood and gifts us His Holy Spirit.

Hope

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”

Acts 23:6 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/act.23.6.ESV

“Divide and conquer” isn’t just a worldly philosophy. The apostle Paul employs something similar here in his defence, on trial before the Jewish ruling council. Whatever trumped up charges he faced, he knew that ultimately he was on trial for his faith.

Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. Pharisees did. So in order to sow a little confusion into the proceedings of this kangaroo court, Paul sided with the Pharisees. After all, he’d been educated and brought up as one by their leading light Gamaliel, and still held to much of what they preached, if not what they practiced.

Paul knew that he was on trial because he was a dealer in something far more dangerous than drugs: hope. The authorities may employ fear to keep the masses pliable, but when you give the masses hope, fear no longer has a hold.

The authorities weren’t so much interested in whether Paul had infringed some minor temple bylaw. They wanted to stamp out his good news of the resurrection of the dead through hope in Christ. This is because his teaching rendered all their legalism redundant.

“Heavenly Father, we pray that You would give us boldness to challenge the Holy cows of our generation, and to freely deal hope in Christ to a lost and dying world. In His name, amen”

Why did God destroy Sodom? Thoughts on the rugby witch-hunt.

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
Ezekiel 16:49 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/ezk.16.49.ESV

The ancient city of Sodom has traditionally become synonymous with sodomy/homosexuality.

But as I consider the current witch-hunt in rugby with first Israel Folau from Australia and now Billy Vunipola in England getting in trouble for opposing homosexuality, I’m reminded of this obscure verse in Ezekiel.

Although Israel in his famous post didn’t single out homosexuality for condemnation, the world has zoomed in on it as their “sacred cow” which must not be criticised.

But as we consider the Biblical view that homosexuality leads to hell, we must be careful not to single that one particular sin.

Even in the destruction of Sodom, we mustn’t assume that homosexuality was the only or even the main reason God destroyed Sodom.

As this verse explains, it was primarily Sodom’s pride and disregard for the poor and needy that condemned her to destruction.

Although “Pride” has become twinned with homosexuality in recent years, it wasn’t always so. Pride is much wider and worse than homosexuality alone.

One more thing to say about Sodom is what Jesus said: if Lot had spoken out it would have remained to His day.

If we know faith in God is people’s only hope of salvation, we must tell them, as fellow sinners who have been saved by grace!

“Lord, have mercy upon us all! In Jesus’ name, amen”

Rescue

The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.

Psalms 98:2 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.98.2.ESV

I think this verse is largely prophetic. After all, God’s salvation and righteousness are ultimately revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who came a thousand years after king David, the main Psalmist. But the Israelites knew that they were awaiting a Messiah, they knew salvation would come through them.

God’s salvation to His old testament people was the promise of a Messiah. To be honest, their faith was very similar to ours: they look forward, we look back. And we look forward as well, to when Christ will return to call His people home.

God has revealed His righteousness in the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of man. He is the only sinless man to have ever lived. Through faith in Him, we can be made righteous too.

God has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. It’s not a coincidence that when you look at a map, Israel is near the middle- at the intersection of Asia, Africa and Europe. God’s salvation wasn’t done in a corner but for all the world to know and to recieve His Son.

“Lord our God, we praise You for making Your salvation and righteousness known throughout the world. Please help us to spread Your fame, so that all might know and worship You. For Jesus’ sake, amen”

Courage

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

Joshua 1:7 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/jos.1.7.ESV

How does the world measure success? It’s usual in terms of how much money, sex and power you have, regardless of how you get it. Whilst there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with those things in their proper contexts, God tells Joshua there’s a different secret to success, and it’s obedience to Him.

People assume that to become successful we have to trample over everyone else to get our own way. Most of the world believes in “survival of the fittest”, or “might is right”. But to be strong is not in our own strength but in God’s.

True strength lies in love of God and of others. Love is the building block of society. God called Joshua to be strong and very courageous. Love isn’t easy, even of God’s people, because we’re often stubborn, impulsive, and wayward.

Joshua was going to need all the strength God would give to lead the people that made Moses, the meekest man of his generation, lose his temper. And he would need to be courageous in the face of Canaanite opposition to Israel settling in the promised land. Thankfully God was sufficient for him, as He is for us.

“Lord Almighty, we ask for strength and courage to live lives that are defined by love- of You and of others. For the sake of Your holy name, amen”

Embrace

Of Benjamin he said, “The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.”

Deuteronomy 33:12 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/deu.33.12.ESV

What a wonderful thing to be beloved of God! If Benjamin was beloved of God, how much more are we as those for whom Christ died! The greatest love anyone could show us is to lay down their life for us, and that’s what Jesus did.

If we’re beloved of God, we dwell in safety. Life may not be any easier, but with His care over us we are secure whatever we may face. No one can pluck us out of God’s hands, we’re His forever.

The High God surrounds us all day long. He’s like a bodyguard, or “close protection officer”, who never lets us out of His sight. He is our shield and defender.

For God to dwell between our shoulders as it were, means He’s embracing us and being embraced. If we think of God as the Most High, we might be tempted to think of this imagery as almost blasphemous. But that is how close and affectionate God is to His people!

“Most High God, we’re astounded at how much You love us and how close we can be to You. We’re so grateful to be beloved of You, in Christ Jesus our Lord, amen”

Presence

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/deu.31.8.ESV

Elderly Moses was passing the baton of Israel’s leadership on to Joshua. This is part of his message to him. What an encouragement to know that the Lord goes before us! The Lord who parted the Red Sea and rose Christ from the dead goes before us to powerfully save.

God doesn’t just go before His people, He’s with us in our midst. What was true for Joshua is even truer for us who have the indwelling Holy Spirit present with us at all times. If God is for us, who can be against us?

God will never leave us or forsake us. He isn’t like an unfaithful partner. Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself. He’s like the prophet Hosea, faithful to his adulterous wife Gomer, who eventually came back to him.

We don’t need to fear or be dismayed. As we seek to share the good news of salvation in Christ, we find that we meet much opposition. People accuse us of bigotry and phobias, whilst we try and focus on the positivity of the gospel. We’re blessed when we’re persecuted, because great is our reward in heaven.

“Oh Lord Almighty, we’re grateful that You are our God. Therefore we have nothing to fear and can have confidence that You are always with us as we seek to tell others of the gospel of peace in Jesus. In His name we pray, amen”

Watch “In support of Israel Folau” on YouTube

Watch “Good news for Brexiteers and Remainers alike!” on YouTube

πŸ™‚