Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates

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

Category: Uncategorized

Debt

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

Luke 7:41 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/luk.7.41.ESV

Jesus went to a religious man’s house. Whilst there, a prostitute came and anointed His feet with her tears and expensive perfume. The religious man was outraged.

In response, Jesus told this story. A moneylender had two debtors. One owed what would be equivalent to about £50,000 and another about £5,000.

They’re both significant amounts of money. But understandably, the bigger debtor would be more grateful about their cancelled debt than the lesser debtor. So it is with us as sinners before a holy God.

If we haven’t sinned much, we won’t be so thankful if God forgives us than if we’ve sinned a lot. This was Jesus’ lesson for the religious man- he didn’t love lavishly, but the prostitute did. She was extravagantly generous in her gratitude to Jesus.

Jesus went on to rebuke the religious man about the poverty of his welcome. Even the basic forms of greeting according to their cultural etiquette had not been met, but the sinful woman had warmly welcomed Jesus, even though the religious man hadn’t welcomed her either. So Jesus forgave her sins.

“God our Father, how thankful we are for sins forgiven. May we rejoice in the return of Your Son, and may He welcome us into His heavenly home, by Your mercy and grace, amen”

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Reward

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Luke 6:35 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/luk.6.35.ESV

Jesus expects more from His people than from the world. In the world, people only tend to love those who love them. But Jesus calls us to love our enemies- those who hate us.

He’s asking us nothing more than He does Himself. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We’re to do good because it’s the right thing to do, not just in expectancy of something in return.

If we do lend without expecting any return, Jesus tells us our reward will be great. In fact, we will be sons of the Most High- after all, as they say, “like Father, like son”.

God is everything we should want to be. He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. So we too should be kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

“Most High God, what You ask of us is beyond our ability to do without Your supernatural power to help us. So please fill us with Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, amen”

Bread

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. But you, O Lord , be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!

Psalms 41:9‭-‬10 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.41.9-10.ESV

I think we sometimes erroneously think that God is doing an injustice when He repays the wicked. But He owes us nothing but hell for our wrongdoing. Anything better than that is a bonus.

These verses are a prophecy about Judah Iscariot, who would betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He ate Jesus’ bread at the last supper, and then went out to plot His destruction. He seems to have been disillusioned that Jesus wasn’t going to take political power but instead establish a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of the poor and marginalised.

Jesus sought the grace of God to enable Him to overcome His betrayal, arrest, trial and execution. He was raised upon a cross so that all who trust in Him might have eternal life. And on the third day He rose again nevermore to die.

The first time Jesus came to earth, He came as Saviour of all who trust in Him. When He returns, it will be as judge, to repay those who have rejected Him. And He is perfectly just in condemning those who unrepentantly rebel against Him.

“Oh Lord, may we never betray You, but be faithful to the end. And please, by Your grace, raise us up on that last day of judgement. In Christ’s name, amen”

Hair

For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O Lord , to deliver me! O Lord , make haste to help me!

Psalms 40:12‭-‬13 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.40.12-13.ESV

These verses could be summarised as “deliver us from evil”, from the prayer the Lord taught us. Jesus called His own disciples evil, so we don’t just need delivering from some external enemy, but from our own sinful selves. If we don’t see ourselves as part of the problem, we won’t see God as the solution.

David was under no illusions as to his own sinfulness. He didn’t call it weakness, failure or brokenness. He called it for what it was- iniquity- a dark blot upon his soul.

If we were only realistic about our own iniquitous state, we’d get pretty depressed. Like David, we need to take our sins to God and to plead with Him to deliver us. God can’t half heartedly save, He needs to be pleased to do it.

Thankfully, God is pleased to deliver us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me. All praise to His holy name!

“Oh Lord, please deliver us from the filthy stains of our sin. We praise You for the blood of Jesus, that makes us as white as snow. In His name, amen”

11 Q&As About Me :)

My 11 questions are as follows:

1. Do you have a motto for your life?

Probably as an epitaph I’d like something like “he watched daily at wisdom’s gates”!

2. Where would your dream holiday be?

My dream holiday was probably our honeymoon to LA. We never made it up to San Francisco though, and I’d love to see the Golden Gate Bridge 🙂

3. Who’s your favorite musician/music group?

At the moment probably Rend Collective for their joyful, uplifting music

4. What’s your earliest memory?

One of them was going to the barbers, who said “what can I do for you, sunshine?” I said, “I’m not sunshine, I’m Robert”, and was promptly sick!

5. What was your last dream you can remember about?

The one that sticks in my mind is from a few years ago, and it was weirdly the idea that I’ll die when I’m 58! Very strange!

6. If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

Why do you love me?

7. Who’s your closest friend?

My wife. I’m not very good at keeping in touch with my other friends post- marriage

8. What inspired you to start a blog?

A friend who told me I should start writing (having never seen any of my writings, but she was right!)

9. What’s your favorite TV programme?

Who Do You Think You Are? Where people trace their genealogies- not everyone’s cup of tea I know but I love it

10. How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who wholeheartedly loved God, and loved others as myself

11. What’s the best meal you can cook?

Tbh I don’t cook much, but I do a nice chicken veg and rice stir fry 🙂

Sunshine Award!

I’ve been nominated by Cecilia Bacon at http://www.thywordmythoughts.com

Thanks for the nomination Cecilia, and for sharing your thoughts on God’s Word with us 🙂

About the Sunshine Award:

This award is given to creative, positive, and cheerful bloggers by other bloggers as a token of appreciation and admiration. Here are the rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.

If I’ve nominated you, please feel under no obligation to do this! It’s just an opportunity for me to express my appreciation for your blogs 🙂

1. What is the longest time you’ve ever lived in one location?

About 15 years in the house my parents still live in.

2. What is the most powerful lesson you have learned from your relationship with Jesus?

That His love never fails, unlike me!

3. What is your favorite meal?

4. Who inspires you the most and why?

Apart from Jesus? Definately my wife. I’m really unambitious, but she encourages me to be more motivated

5. What was the last book you read, and did you like it?

Apart from the Bible? Probably War Horse by Michael Morpurgo with my 11 year old brother in law. It was okay, but we never finished it.

6. What is your favorite season?

Whichever one I’m heading into, so I’m looking forward to crisp autumnal (fall) days

7. Is it easy or difficult for you to speak about your faith to others?

It was easy in my old job but harder in this new one for some reason

8. How would you describe yourself?

A bit like a donkey sometimes to be honest- at once both stubborn and yet impulsive too

9. Where do you find inspiration from your blog posts?

Apart from the Bible? Sometimes the news or something that God’s Spirit puts in my mind

10. Do you have a mentor?

The lady who first encouraged me to write could count, I’m not in touch with her as often as I should be!

11. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I sometimes speculate that we’re all naturally introverted, but the extroverts make the effort to overcome their introversion!

My 11 questions are as follows:

1. Do you have a motto for your life?

2. Where would your dream holiday be?

3. Who’s your favorite musician/music group?

4. What’s your earliest memory?

5. What was your last dream you can remember about?

6. If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

7. Who’s your closest friend?

8. What inspired you to start a blog?

9. What’s your favorite TV programme?

10. How would you like to be remembered?

11. What’s the best meal you can cook?

The 11 blogs I want to nominate are

1. www.sheqoz.com – check out a great recent post on marriage

2. www.godinspiredart.wordpress.com – Tammy is a great encouragement to me in my blogging, and has a God inspired blog of her own

3. www.ettingerwriting.com – David is another great encouragement, and a great writer- enjoy his thought provoking blog

4. www.bcooper.wordpress.com – Bruce is a good apologist, a deep thinker with a godly heart

5. www.bickleyhouse.wordpress.com – Jeff always encourages me especially in my Bible book blogs. I love his unique blog style- check it out!

6. www.authorryanc.com – Ryan is a great friend of my blog, I love how his blog is so open about his life and the grace of God in it

7. www.bereavedsingledad.blog – My favorite blog by a Yorkshireman that despite its sad title is full of self- deprecating humour

8. www.devotionsbychris.com – I know I write devotions mostly myself, but Chris’ devotions are my favourite to read myself

9. www.diaryofabrokenman.home.blog – As a fellow sufferer of mental ill health, I really appreciate how Kevin ministers to the likes of me and our brethren seeking to walk alongside us in our brokenness

10. www.theweeflea.com – David is a professional who’s in another league to us amateurs, but he’s also a brother in Christ and a good servant of His

11. www.challies.com – Tim is the ultimate professional Christian blogger, with the Rolls Royce of Christian blogs!

I also want to mention www.stephenkneale.com – “Building Jerusalem” gives a good insight into British evangelicalism that I come from (although I currently attend a pentecostal church).

Breath

“O Lord , make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

Psalms 39:4‭-‬5 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.39.4-5.ESV

When we’re young, we often assume we’re going to live for ever- subconsciously at least. David however had a more realistic understanding of his own mortality. It might seem a bit morbid to ask God to give us a perpective on our fleeting days, but it’s helpful.

David often lived in danger of his life. Even as a shepherd boy he had to fight off wild beasts. Then there were Goliath and murderous king Saul. Even when he became king, David had plenty of enemies to fight off, including members of his own household!

The truth is that we’re all only a breath away from death. The only reason we have life and breath is due to the mercies of the Lord. Life is short- that’s a truth worth reflecting on.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re king of the world or beggar on the streets. The same fate will happen to us all unless Christ returns. Whether you’re a prosperity preacher or a serial killer, one day our lives will be demanded of us.

“Oh Lord, give us a realistic perspective on our mortality. May that fact encourage us to make our peace with You, and to receive the eternal life that You so graciously impart. In Christ’s name, amen”

Answer

But for you, O Lord , do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!”

Psalms 38:15‭-‬16 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.38.15-16.ESV

Some people dismiss the Old Testament as irrelevant to our New Covenant experience. But by doing so, they deprive themselves of much helpful Scripture, which is all God breathed, not just the newer stuff. Can we not empathise with David’s prayer here? If not, there’s a poverty in our prayer life.

David was waiting for the Lord. He was longing for, and trusting that he would get an answer. Isn’t that the whole point of prayer, even nowadays?

By the sounds of it, David had messed up. His foot had slipped, and his enemies were rejoicing and boasting over him. He didn’t want that to happen.

Are we so blinkered as to our own nature that we deny ever feeling like David in these verses? I’m sure Peter felt the same after he denied his Lord. I’m sure Mark felt the same when he chickened out of his mission trip. Even Paul with his thorn in the flesh will have felt similar. Are we so convinced that we’re better than them?

“Oh Lord our God, help us to dig deep into all of Your Word, and so to find the priceless treasures in it. Please answer our prayers and give us victory over our enemies, in Jesus’ name, amen”

Turn!

Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalms 37:27‭-‬28 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.37.27-28.ESV

Yes, we’re all sinners; and yes, the Lord saves us. But He doesn’t save us to leave us in our sins. He saves us in order that we might turn away from evil and do good.

Having eternal life isn’t so much dependant on us as upon the work of God in our lives. He’s the one who inspires us to turn away from evil, to repent and to do good. Any good in us is a product of the grace of God.

Having saved us, God isn’t about to give up on us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He’s just- when He says He’s going to do something, He doesn’t stop half way through, but carries it through to completion.

We are preserved forever, by the mercies of God. When David writes that the children of the wicked will be cut off, he doesn’t mean to say that God will punish children for the sins of their fathers. Instead, he’s suggesting that “like father, like son”, and also that the sins of the fathers have consequences that affect their children.

“Lord, we acknowledge our sin before You, and ask that You would transform us by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for promising never to forsake us. Please continue in Your steadfast love to us, in Christ Jesus our Lord we pray, amen”

Joy

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/neh.8.10.ESV

Regret is a grievous thing. The Jewish people regretted that they had strayed so far from the God of their fathers. So when they did finally return to Him, they were filled with remorse.

Some people might assume that God’s out to make us feel regret, remorse, shame and guilt. But as this verse suggests, the Lord doesn’t want to leave us feeling that. Instead, He wants to give us His joy.

There’s a sense in which every day is holy to the Lord, because “this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it”. But in the Jewish calendar, there were special days to remember God’s grace in times past. For us as Christians, every Lord’s Day is a reminder that Christ is risen from the grave.

From what, or who, do you derive your joy? Work, family, friends, hobbies? Nehemiah reminds God’s people that the joy of the Lord is our strength. If grief saps our strength, God’s joy energises it.

“Oh Yahweh our God, we want to thank You for the joy You give us that is our strength. Please help us to celebrate Your mercies which are new every morning. In Jesus’ precious name, amen”