Author Archives: Anthony Baker

About Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor/preacher/teacher, musician, and Time Magazine's Person of The Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him!

Politically-Incorect Advice

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. – Proverbs 23:13-14

As of this writing, Rahm Emanuel, the soon-to-be-ex Mayor of Chicago and someone with whom I have rarely agreed, is in trouble for saying what needed to be said in the wake of unabated violence, including hundreds of murders:

“This may not be politically correct,” he said, “but I know the power of what faith and family can do. … Our kids need that structure. … I am asking … that we also don’t shy away from a full discussion about the importance of family and faith helping to develop and nurture character, self-respect, a value system and a moral compass that allows kids to know good from bad and right from wrong.”

He added: “If we’re going to solve this … we’ve got to have a real discussion. … Parts of the conversation cannot be off-limits because it’s not politically comfortable. … We are going to discuss issues that have been taboo in years past because they are part of the solution. … We also have a responsibility to help nurture character. It plays a role. Our kids need that moral structure in their lives. And we cannot be scared to have this conversation.” (source: FoxNews.com)

What was so wrong with he said? Oh, I know! It gave the impression that the actions of parents have a lasting effect on children, and children grow up. It took the responsibility off of the government and placed it back on the parents. It didn’t lay all the blame for violence on poverty but suggested that the decay in the family, faith, and morality is at the root of what’s wrong.

In response to the Mayor’s suggestions, a former president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, Shari Runner, refused to accept any responsibility on behalf of families. She said, “I cannot see the victims of racist policies and bigoted practices shamed by anyone who says they need to do better or be better in their circumstances. I won’t accept it!”

Well, somebody needs to accept the blame. Who is responsible for rearing one’s children? Who is responsible for applying the rod of discipline to the seat of instruction? Not the government, that’s for sure! And, I’m sorry, folks, but racist policies and bigoted practices are no excuse for immorality, having children out of wedlock, and men with 16 baby mommas.

Folks, the stats don’t lie: “Children from broken homes [are] nine times more likely to commit crimes.” (source: The Telegraph UK)

And when it comes to Proverbs 23:13-14, we need to understand that a lot of grown men and women are on their way to hell and taking others with them all because of delinquent parenting.

It may be politically incorrect, but I’m not running for office – I’m telling you the truth…and so is Rahm Emanuel.

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No Reason for Envy

Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. – Proverbs 23:17

Testimonies

I love to hear stories of how God has changed people’s lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thrills to hear how the Lord can take a dreadful, hell-bound sinner and turn him into a saint in all respects.

But sometimes testimonies can turn into a glorification of past sin. Sometimes a well-meaning story of God’s grace can make the average person wish they’d taken a chance at being bad.

Like,

“I once was a drug dealer and had everything money could buy. I woke up with champagne and girls, drove fast all day, and then partied all night until I passed out in the arms of another supermodel. Then Jesus saved me.”

Sorta makes becoming a believer a little anti-climactic, doesn’t it?

The Truth

What we need more of is the truth – not just the truth about the consequences of sin, but the literal joys of following Christ and honoring the Father.

So often we are bombarded by images of those who are doing everything the Bible condemns and having fun while they’re doing it. All of us want to have fun and enjoy life, don’t we? Therefore, these images tend to make a lot of us envious.

But if we had more stories of the joy, peace, and awestruck wonder that accompanies the one who walks in the fear of the Lord, the fleeting pleasures of sin wouldn’t even be worth talking about.


Class Warfare Is Unbiblical

The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all. – Proverbs 22:2

It’s a growing trend in American politics, and it’s common around the world. So many people want to play one class of people against another.

Yet, if we were to look to biblical principles for our guide (like the Founding Fathers in America did), we would see that the act of playing one group of people – particularly the poor against the rich – promotes the rebellion of man against his Sovereign God.

There will always be poor people – always. Even Jesus said so (Matt. 26:11).

There will always be people with more than someone else – always.

But God is the maker of them all.

Until we can come to terms with the truth of Proverbs 22:2, there will always be those who play the class-warfare card to their advantage, not ours.


Your Name Is More Valuable

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

Sales

I have had more than a few years of experience in the area of sales. I have, over the years, sold everything from credit card services to funeral pre-arrangements. Right now I sell for Aflac (the company with the Duck), and I hope to have a long relationship.

However, there have been times when I’ve been instructed by sales managers to do whatever it takes to close the deal. At one point one crook of a sales manager (I quit after this) told me, “After all, those people are not your friends.” I said, “Everyone is a potential friend.”

Sales can be a tough way to make a living – it’s actually hard on me right now – but some things are far more valuable than money.

Your Reputation

Some may think this is just a thing I say to gain trust, but it’s the honest-to-God truth. I tell people they can trust me because I have a reputation to protect.

Even though I could make a sale and make some money, what good would it do, in the long run, if word got out that I was untrustworthy? How would that affect my ministry? How would that affect my ability to lead a church, or share the gospel?

Oh, you don’t know how much I would love to open a few new accounts and pay my bills! I don’t want “great riches,” only enough to pay for necessities and a little more, plus enough to lay aside for later. “Tiny riches” would be fine with me!

But all the riches in the world are not worth ruining one’s name, especially when one’s name is associated with the Name above all names, Jesus Christ.

I’d rather have a good name that brings honor to His name than all the gold in the world.


Kick Them Out

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease. – Proverbs 22:10

As I was reading through chapter 22 this morning, looking for something to write about, several verses grabbed my attention. However, I feel moved to address this one.

One thing that I have learned during my years as a pastor is that there will always be people who disagree. No matter where you go, church or not, there are going to be people who don’t see eye-to-eye.

But then there are those people who do nothing but complain. They find a way to see the negative in everything you do. They have a sense of arrogance, even, that does its best to belittle any suggestion other than their own.

Sometimes these people put on a false face, smiling all the time while secretly scheming against every plan in which they had no part or didn’t conceive. And even worse, with mocking words of derision they try to subvert another’s leadership in order to gain control or set up another who is more considerate of their wishes.

My advice: Cast them out!

Solomon’s advice: Cast them out!

So often we put up with people who sow discord and foment contention, all because we love them and don’t want to see them go. However, a “scorner” in the midst does harm to the whole, and much like a cancer that threatens the life of a body, he/she must be put out for the good of all.

Think of it this way: when you get rid of the scorner, you get rid of the reproach – “confusion, dishonour, ignominy, reproach, shame” (Strong’s H7036). After all, if the scorner is not happy where he is, send him away! You’d be doing him a favor and helping the rest.

…How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – Psalm 133:1 NIV


Posts to Facebook

As many of you already know, WordPress can no longer post directly to Facebook profiles. However, Facebook will still allow posts to be posted to pages.

Well, lo and behold! We’ve had a Facebook page for a while, now…we’ve just rarely used it.

Guess what it’s called. Proverbia Thought Extra!

Check it out


God Can Change the Flow

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. – Proverbs 21:1 KJV

So often we – yes, you and I – feel it’s useless to pray for our leaders, especially those like presidents, kings, and even dictators. We pray but never see any results, like our prayers were never heard.

I’ll be the first to admit, it can get discouraging, especially when we are exhorted to intercede for those in authority:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

But what we have a hard time comprehending is how God can bring about change in what seems unchangeable.

The king’s heart…the president’s heart…the prime minister’s heart…is as hard to change as the course of a river. You and I cannot do it, but God can.

Believe it or not, rivers changing their course is not as uncommon as you might think. But in an article I was reading on the subject , one sentence stood out, and I think it illustrates perfectly how God works.

“Rivers changing direction is relatively common, according to the scientists, but is usually caused by tectonic forces, landslides or erosion.” – USA Today

The heart of the king can be changed as easy as God can send an earth-shaking event into his life. The heart of the president can be changed as quickly as the foundation on which his beliefs are built suddenly slide out from under him. The heart of the corrupt dictator can suddenly change when the full effect of erosion leaves his policies a wasteland, allowing a simple rainshower the power to wash him away.

The God who made the rivers and changes their courses is the one who holds the heart of the king. His hand is mightier than the heart.