Author Archives: David

About David

David is the son of Ken and father of Nick, who first introduced him to blogging. Ken is a retired Baptist Minister who continues to preach regularly, despite being in his eighties. Nick is training for full time Baptist ministry after several years serving as a youth pastor. Somehow the being a preacher thing skipped a generation with David. Although half Scottish David grew up in England and in the Channel Island of Guernsey. He served in the British Merchant Navy after leaving school, and did not attend University until he was twenty-eight years old. By this time he was married to Marilyn and father to Nick, and Nick’s brother Michael. Another son (James) was born the day before the start of David’s final University examinations. Beth and John followed a few years later. The older boys are all married, and David and Marilyn have been presented with five grandsons and two grand-daughters to date, with one more on the way! Beth served with British Youth for Christ (YFC) for four years, two as a member and then a year as the leader of the Nomad cage football team. She then spent a year with a new YFC ministry known as The Cube, before leaving YFC to join the Youth and Children's Team at a large church in York, where she is also working part-time in a computer store. John, who is 19, is now the only one of our children still living at home. David and Marilyn met in 1973 and have been married since 1979. Marilyn is a trained nurse, who gave up nursing to be a full time mother, grandmother, and maker of cakes for pastors, youth pastors, and any church function that needs cakes. There is a rumour that she secretly reads David’s blogs. Family and church leave little time for hobbies, but David enjoys walking and cycling, and listening to music. He also dabbles with languages and is currently learning to speak Welsh. (By way of explanation the Welsh border is 11 miles from David's home, and his water bills arrive in both English and Welsh from Dŵr Cymru.)

Bloody Hands

Proverbs 6:17c

“A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,”

Disgusting!

We are taught that ‘God is love’ but rarely hear the word hate associated with God. Verses 16-19 of Proverbs 6 are not about God hating people, but confirm His absolute distaste for some of the characteristics they display, and the things that they do. The seven things listed in these verses are described as an abomination to God. Abomination is a strong word more usually reserved for God’s opinion of idols. A more modern translation might be that these things are disgusting to God.

The Shedding of Innocent Blood

The list of sins that God hates is not exhaustive, but the inclusion of hands that shed innocent blood requires closer examination. Similar language is used in Proverbs 1:11. Why? Is it because all sins, including those referred to in Proverbs 6:16-19, ultimately led to the shedding of innocent blood (Isaiah 53)?

It would be surprising if those whose hands were covered in the innocent blood of Jesus were not aware of Proverbs 6:17c. The truth is that we are all covered in the innocent blood of Jesus. Every time we sin we cause His blood to be spilt. While we are equally guilty of causing His death, the blood of Jesus that splashes over us has power to remove all evidence of our guilt.

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14

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Are You a Troublemaker?

Proverbs 6:12-15

“A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.”

Troublemakers

The words in these verses appear to combine to build a picture of a professional troublemaker. One who gets pleasure from making mischief, causing trouble, hurting other people. We’ve all met them, they exist in all walks of life, even in church. They thrive in politics, and they are present in almost every workplace, university and school. It is easy judge them because we are not like them. We don’t cause trouble, do we?

Self Examination

Why did Solomon use so many words to define a troublemaker? Why didn’t he just insert the word troublemaker into verse fifteen and omit verses twelve, thirteen and fourteen?

Therefore shall a troublemaker’s calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

Perhaps we should read the description again while examining ourselves to see if even one of the characteristics listed in verses twelve to fourteen could apply to us. These verses are not here to be skipped over with the assumption that they describe something we are not. They are included in Scripture by God’s design to challenge us to examine ourselves, not other people. And they are included in Scripture as a warning.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV

It is useful also to remember that God also examines us (Psalm 139) so complete honesty is essential.

Redemption

The results of our self examination matter because they form a basis for redemption. Jesus didn’t die to save a perfect world. He died to save the troublemaker from calamity. He is the Remedy.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:14-18 NIV


Drink Your Own Water

Proverbs 5:15-17

[15] Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. [16] Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. [17] Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.”

The Addiction of Adultery

Last night I attended an event in which a famous former British boxer and his wife (Nigel and Carolyne Benn) gave testimony to the power of Jesus in their lives. Nigel spoke of the way that his substantial earnings failed to bring happiness, but instead led to various addictions, including numerous affairs. Nigel testified that for sixteen years he was unfaithful to his wife. Some of the women Nigel slept with sold their stories to the press, increasing the hurt inflicted on his wife and other members of his family.

Carolyne explained how she reacted the day when Nigel came home and confessed absolutely everything to her. By now they were living on the island of Mallorca, attending church, and it seemed that everything was OK. But Nigel couldn’t take his eyes off other women and had another affair. He confessed to one of his pastors and was challenged to make the same confession to his wife. That confession resulted in Nigel and Carolyne spending a year apart. Nigel lived with his pastors, while immersing himself in God’s word, and finally surrendering everything to God.

Stay in the Ring

Why did Solomon write so many verses warning about adultery? Because He knew that when a man or a woman looks outside marriage it is like stepping outside the boxing ring. Nigel Benn was an acclaimed fighter for whom the fight held no fear. But he couldn’t handle his life outside the ring where he was surrounded by temptations he could not resist. In Proverbs 5: 15-17 Solomon uses water to make the point – drink only from your own well. In other words keep your love for your marriage partner, the person God chose for you. However exciting life outside the ring may seem, however tempting it is to drink from another well, sleeping with a person you are not married to is going to damage not just your life, but many.

What is the best defense against such damaging behavior? Nigel Benn would probably say that a good boxer never lets his guard down. Substitute God for guard. Don’t ever let God down by looking outside of your marriage for pleasure. Instead examine what you have, and return to Proverbial Thought tomorrow to learn what Solomon has to say about cherishing all that God has blessed you with through the gift of your wife (or husband).


Unity of Purpose

Proverbs 4:25-26

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”

Parts of the Body

Recent verses discussed in Proverbial Thought have dealt with different parts of the human body and their importance in developing and maintaining a relationship with God. The ear is the focus of Proverbs 4:20 and this is followed by a brief mention of the eyes in verse 21. Two days ago in Proverbs 4:23 the subject matter was the human heart. Yesterday in Proverbs 4:24 it was the mouth.

Solomon returns to the eyes in Proverbs 4:25 but this verse has to be considered in conjunction with verse 26, as Solomon moves to the opposite end of the body and deals with the feet. Eyes and feet may not seem to have much in common, but our ability to see where we are going is essential to the performance of our feet in taking us there.

Unity

While the above verses give a clear message of fixing our eyes on what is ahead and not deviating from the path God has placed us on, these two verses and those that precede them build another picture. As this blog gets deeper and deeper into Proverbs the more I appreciate the imagery used by Solomon. Read verses 20-25 again and see if you see what I see:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

This is a picture of unity in which each part of the body, when acting in accordance with God’s will and instruction, will achieve all that He desires. The message in Proverbs may be directed at individuals, but New Testament teachings (1 Corinthians 12) show that it is also a vital message to the church. The message is that while every part of the body is important, it is equally important that each part of the body functions together as intended by the Creator.

The Challenge

On an individual basis the challenge for those who follow God is to ensure that every part of their daily life reflects the hand of the Creator upon that life, to the extent that others are drawn irretrievably into a similar relationship with God.

The challenge for the church is the same. Every part of the daily life of every church should reflect the hunger and desire of God for all humanity to be in relationship with Him. If the church is the body of Christ then why is it so difficult for it to point the way to God? Casting Crowns put it like this:

But if we are the body

Why aren’t His arms reaching

Why aren’t His hands healing

Why aren’t His words teaching

And if we are the body

Why aren’t His feet going

Why is His love not showing them there is a way

There is a way

Casting Crowns. If We Are The Body.


Shine the Torch

Proverbs 4:18-19

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”

Submitted by Rev Ken Welford (Father of David)

Needing a Torch

Wouldn’t it be good if we never went astray? Even SatNav has a reputation for getting it wrong, and sometimes leading people astray. Recently a huge truck got stuck between two houses in a narrow English village street, simply because the driver blindly followed the directions of the SatNav.

I use a torch (flashlight) for the last short walk of the day with our dog. I need to look ahead for possible obstacles, and most recently I have been engaged in a minor ‘rescue mission’ directed towards the common toad. These silly creatures sit in the middle of our driveway/minor road waiting to be squashed by passing traffic. They have to be removed from the danger area and taken to a place of safety.

Three Things

Proverbs 4:18 speaks about “the path of the just” (or righteous) being like the shining sun – that shines brighter unto the perfect day. This is contrasted (v 19) with the way of the wicked, which is totally in the dark.

Three things stand out – the path of the just is an illuminated pathway. Illuminated by the PERFECT RAY for the sunshine of God’s love shines strongly on the pathway of God Seekers. It shows the way ahead in some detail, and reveals the PERFECT WAY. This is the way that leads in the right direction, and will eventually bring us to the right destination. Jesus is the Way to Life, and the only way to get us there intact. That leads to the PERFECT DAY, where God’s love shines so brightly that we are delivered from the possible perils of darkness, into the full sunshine of His presence.

Delivered

Going back to my toads – they seem to have little sense of direction, and sit waiting in the dark for the worst to happen. Paralyzed and unable to move to a place of safety on their own, the light of my torch picks them out, and I lift them up and place them in comparative safety away from the roadway. To them, I am perhaps savior and deliverer (although I guess they don’t know that). When we find ourselves ‘in the dark’, we too need someone to help us discover the right path. To lift us out of danger and darkness, and to set us free to live to our full potential.

Proverbs 14:12 says ‘there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death’. We need, not only the RIGHT WAY, but the BRIGHT WAY, illuminated by God’s love in the Lord Jesus Christ, who says ‘this is the way, walk in it’ (Isaiah 30:21).

Light of the World

My torch offers only pretty feeble illumination on our driveway, and can only shine on one small area at a time. However, it helps me in total darkness to avoid obstacles (and particularly, stepping on toads). The light of the world brings in a mega-beam, which disperses darkness, so that we can walk continually in the light. It means that we need never stumble for we can see the way ahead, and we walk with Him to LIFE.

The old chorus puts it like this: “When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way” – this is the true essence of that light – it’s GLORY, the glory of the risen Lord Jesus.

Ken served as a Baptist Minister from 1956-1978. He was subsequently employed by The Leprosy Mission and The Far Eastern Broadcasting Association (FEBA). Although he retired in 1996 Ken continues to preach in his local Methodist circuit in the coastal town of Teignmouth in the UK.


Just Walk Away

Proverbs 4:14-17

“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

Magnetic Attraction

When my daughter was eight we spent a week staying in a small Austrian village during the summer. The weather was glorious, the scenery fantastic, and the lake was perfect for swimming. We spent a lot of time by the lake, as did other holidaymakers, and the locals. Despite not being able to speak German, my daughter soon found that she could not stay away from the most mischievous of the local children. They had some sort of magnetic attraction. Nothing I said to her made any difference, she just seemed to gravitate towards the bad kids.

Why is bad sometimes so attractive? Back in Exodus when Moses vanished up the mountain it didn’t take long for the people to lose the plot and become disobedient to the point of making and then worshipping an idol. It is difficult to believe that even Aaron went along with the crowd instead of walking away from what he knew was wrong.

Walk Away

Walk away is the wisdom expressed in these verses. Walk away from wicked people. Walk away from temptation. Walk away from anything you know will be hurtful to God, and keep on walking. Sometimes it seems so hard to take that step and go in the opposite direction, even though we know it is the right thing to do.

Solomon refers to the path or way of the wicked. This is the broad road that leads to destruction. When we walk out on it every step we take adds to the weight of the burden Jesus carried to the cross. Every step on this highway to hell is another hammer blow against a nail piercing the hand of our Lord, who once said:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13 NIV)

Walk away from the wide road of those who despise God. Don’t follow them for they are walking in the wrong direction. There is only one road. Only one way – with our eyes fixed on Jesus:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)


Fortress Wisdom

Proverbs 4:8-9

“Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”

Building Wisdom

The defense of many iron-age villages in the UK relied on huge mounds of soil being piled up to encircle a settlement and create a primitive fort. There is one of these ancient earthworks close to where I live. It is situated on the highest point for several miles and must have taken a herculean effort to build. The scale of the earthworks is not immediately evident when walking on its remains, and much is left to the imagination. What is not in doubt is that the earthworks were essential to the safety of those who lived inside. Why else would a group of Ancient Britons have invested so much in the construction of such a formidable barrier?

The word ‘exalt’ at the beginning of verse eight could be applied to the construction of an iron-age fort. Wisdom needs to be built up, and constructed into a formidable barrier to defend against everything that life and Satan have to throw at us. It is useful to remember that iron age forts were not built overnight. Solomon may have been blessed with a gift of wisdom by God, but the process of building wisdom began with the early example and teaching of his parents  (Proverbial Thought – Proverbs 4:1-2 and Proverbs 4 3-4).

Embracing Wisdom

It is not enough to embark on a building project alone. The builders of the earthworks could not spend their entire lives inside never facing the dangers outside. And how good a defense would the earthworks have been if lookouts were never posted to provide warning of possible intruders?

The reason that Solomon tells us we need to embrace wisdom is because he knew that there would be times when however good and strong the earthworks of wisdom around us may be, we still have to venture out, sometimes into the unknown. Solomon is also reminding us in these verses that we need to remain alert. Why? Because danger is all around. Stand on top of the earthworks and take a good look outside:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)

The journey is not over yet, but look out from the ramparts and you will see that the reward for exercising wisdom is in view.