Category Archives: Faithfulness

Don’t Wait to Give

Proverbs 3:27-28

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”

The Call to Give

In 1998 my eldest son Nick was accepted onto a Baptist Missionary Society gap year scheme that required him to raise £2,400 ($3,700) to cover his costs. He carried out some fund raising, but also received gifts from various individuals and organizations. It was around this time that I heard God tell me very clearly to make a specific financial gift to a person serving in full time ministry who needed to purchase a new car. I refused. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the money, it just sounded too much to give. Every day in my quiet time I heard God repeat Himself, but still I held back.

One Sunday morning after church a retired nurse from our congregation gave Nick a gift of £100 ($155) towards his gap year. When Nick told me, I went to thank her. She didn’t welcome my thanks, but told me that when God told her to make this gift her response was, “I couldn’t possibly give that much. I am just a pensioner.” But God repeated His instruction until she obeyed. As she related the background behind her gift I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I was challenged by my own disobedience.

As soon as I arrived home I wrote out a cheque (check) for the amount God had told me to give and posted it. I soon received a letter of grateful thanks, but had to write back and admit that I should have sent the gift three months earlier. That young man and his family are now serving God in Africa, but their need right then in 1998 was for a car so that they could continue to serve Him in the UK.

The Blessing of the Gift

What did that £100 and all the other gifts mean to Nick? It meant that he could spend six months in Trinidad working without pay as an assistant teacher in a poorly resourced Baptist school. Trinidad changed Nick’s career plans and it changed his life. Instead of looking to a career in journalism he next spent a year as a Youth for Christ volunteer, followed by three years training for youth ministry. Nick is currently serving as youth pastor at a church in the north of England.

The Message translation of Proverbs 3:27 says: ‘Never walk away from someone who deserves help. Your hand is God’s hand for that person.’ We may never see the true benefits of our gifts of help, time, or money. What matters is that we are obedient to God when He tells us to give. The blessing of the gift is that it blesses others, not just the immediate recipient.

And it pleases God.

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True Substance

Proverbs 3:9-10

“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

It is great that the King James Version says “Honour the LORD with thy substance,” because most other translations say wealth. It is also great that it says “with the firstfruits of all thine increase,” because most other translations say crops or produce.

It is great, because these words say so much more.

Giving it all

Allow me to paraphrase: “Give God everything of who you are and let God use you and what you have, and give God the first part of anything you get above what you have.”

This is not a prosperity gospel message, but if you honor God with what you have He will give you more. If you continue giving back when you get more, you will find your barns (or bank account or pantry or whatever) full and more than you can handle.

But it is because you are thinking about God and others, not yourself and how comfortable you are. It is because you are focused on pleasing God, not growing your portfolio or your bank account.

Jesus mentioned it, too

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus discusses that those who show they are good stewards of what they are given are given more. Those who sit on, hide, or squander what they are given will have it taken away. (But we must also remember that in all things “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,” (Job 1:21) must be true. Even good stewards may see everything taken away if it is for the good of the Church and glorifies God.)

The true increase and blessing is the joy of our Heavenly Father in our faithfulness and commitment to Him. We honor God because He deserves it and we love Him. We give because He gives and we love Him.

If we give simply because we expect something in return, then we should expect nothing. We are not honoring God; we are honoring ourselves.

Gracious God, Thank You for Your love and Your grace. Increase Your love in us. Give us giving hearts and a will to seek after You alone, that You may be glorified in us.


Trust the Guide

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

My Dad

Unlike me, my dad was brought up in a rough and tough home. At the age of 14, for his birthday, he received his first moonshine still. In high school he was one of the “protectors” who protected for a fee. Up until he met my mother in the middle 1960’s he was still running white lightning through the hills of Tennessee and building drag cars.

As a high school senior my dad benched 300 lbs.; ran track; threw shot put; was the state heavyweight wrestling champion; loved to fight; and could drink away a paycheck. But just a few years later, on the living room floor of my mother’s house, he gave his heart to Jesus Christ, and nothing stayed the same.

My Dad’s Guidance

My father was a wise man, but make no mistake about it, he earned his wisdom the hard way. And I did my best to follow his instruction, because I figured he knew what he was talking about. He had seen and done a lot, and he had the scars to prove it.

One day he told me, “Son, sin is fun. Alcohol tastes good. The devil has a lot to offer. But let me tell you, when you have friends bleed to death in your arms you’ll realize sin ain’t worth the price.” Spoken like the humble preacher he was.

When I got old enough to run wild, I didn’t. When I could drive, I drove safely. When I dated, I saved myself for marriage. Was I perfect? Absolutely not! But every time I came close to messing up I would remember my dad, his words, and his example. That remembrance helped direct my path.

Solomon’s Dad

Solomon had a father, also. His name was King David, and he also knew the cost of sin, the feeling of spilled blood.

God gave Solomon wisdom, but some of it came through the words of David, Solomon’s rough and tough dad. I wonder if the above verses were based on the following advice given years earlier?

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. – 1Chronicals 28:9 NKJV

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. – Psalm 37:3-5 KJV

Solomon surely took his father’s words to heart. Our Father asks us to do the same.

A Prayer

Lord God, I am so tempted to do things my way. I am tempted so often to trust my own feelings, to follow my heart. Help me, Lord, to acknowledge that you have traveled this way before. Help me to listen and pay attention as you guide me through the curves of life, making them as good as straight.

Related Link: “First Post” – A tribute to my father, Rev. Terry L. Baker.


Deliver Us from Cheaters

Proverbs 2:16-19

“To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.”

“Lady of the Night”

Rather clearly, this passage is telling us that the wisdom of God will keep us from being enticed by a “lady of the night,” someone generally called a prostitute. In this instance an adulterous woman is specifically implied by “forgetteth the covenant of her God,” which means she has broken her marriage vows.

Whether this is speaking of a prostitute or a wayward wife or even a wayward husband, the warning is still the same: dealing intimately with this woman (or man) only leads to trouble. There may be diseases you may not wish to acquire, unexpected children, any guilt that can come with aborting any unexpected children, an upset spouse who may seek retribution of some sort (usually through physical altercation/death).

Cheating Church

There is another danger from which wisdom can help protect us: churches. I do not mean to say that churches are bad. Rather, this is a warning of churches which “preach any other gospel” (Galatians 1:8). These are churches who have a focus on … anything but Jesus. Instead they preach a message about themselves; a message of numbers (who has more attending); a message of wealth, health, and/or fame; a message of legal do’s and don’t’s.

Some churches will preach anything but the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the true wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).

The world will do anything to deceive and trap us. There is always a price to be paid when we follow its call. The wisdom of God reveals the deception and keeps us from following.

O, Lord, open our eyes to see Your truth and detect the ways of the adulterer. Preserve us from following the path of adultery against each other and against You. Give us all of You.


Resolving Resolutions (10:8)

While going through and organizing things on the site to make it easier for all to find thoughts, Anthony noticed we may have missed a verse!

The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. -Proverbs 10:8, KJV

If you have been reading our site for any extended amount of time, you know that I greatly enjoy digging into the deeper truths and how Christ can be found in each verse.

Today, however, I will not be focusing on how the wise find Christ in the Bible while others claim other wisdom or how foolish this idea is. (There it is!)

Instead, this is going out on New Year’s Eve, and this verse is applicable today.

How many of us say each year “I am resolving to do this or that thing”? How many of us, year after year of promises, find ourselves failing mere weeks or even days into the new year?

This is not to say that making resolutions is necessarily bad. (Some people actually follow through on their resolutions!)

Rather, instead of constantly saying (prating on, if you will, like a resounding gong) how such and such will be done in the future, the wise look to the Bible and the Church to find how to change their lives, seek God’s help to make changes, and rely on His people to be held accountable through encouragement. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Hebrews 10:23-25)


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 5

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. – John 19:25, KJV

cross jesus summit cross

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What was the whole reason Jesus made His first coming to the Earth?

To die as a propitiation for our sins on the cross.

And of all of the thousands who followed Him during His ministry, the 120 disciples who remained the most faithful, the remaining 11 Apostles, and His family, who remained nearby at His death?

The Apostle John and a few women, including His mother, Mary. She may not have understood everything Jesus did or taught, but she stayed near Him even at His supposed end.

And there is our example: like Jesus’ mother, we do not always understand how God is moving, how what is happening can work out for good, or how His Kingdom will come to full fruition; but we do know He has promised to return to fully redeem us and banish all evil pain and suffering, though we may not understand the whole plan.

And we, too, shall remain faithful until the end, by the power of blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11)

Our great God, strengthen our faith, because You are faithful, and grant us peace, patience, and wisdom as we wait for Your return.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent

Welcome to the third week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the third week of Advent is about the joy and peace we find in the Messiah, with Mary, the mother of Jesus, being our example. We finally begin to see the the connection from seeing our need for a Savior to discovering and sharing the news of that Savior to beginning to see some of the rewards of following the Savior.

assorted color gift boxes

Photo by George Dolgikh on Pexels.com

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. -Luke 1:38

But those rewards rest on our response to what God has done.

(This is not to claim that we can do anything to earn salvation. This is also not the place to have a major soteriological debate [hash out matters and merits of salvation, i.e. over Calvinism, Arminianism, and the like]. Please enjoy the thoughts today, and head over to the Proverbial Thought Extra Facebook page if you want to dialogue with us, or you can leave a respectful comment.)

Contrary to what many teach today, God will give us more than we can handle. It encourages us to rest in Him, trust that He knows what He is doing, and let His power flow through us by the Holy Spirit.

Case in point, young Mary – who is yet to be married to Joseph at this juncture in the story of Christ – is told she is to carry the Son of God and give birth to Him.

Think about it: a young female, not yet married, in a society that limits what women can do with a religion that shuns the sexually impure, being told she is about to be pregnant. She is risking being ostracized by family and friends, thought a liar and a slut, and severely limiting her prospects for the future.

And how does she respond to this news?

“I am the Lord’s servant.”

How willing are we to be willing to the call of God?

We do not have to carry the baby Jesus to term, but we are tasked with carrying His Gospel to a fallen world.

We do not have to risk being labeled liars, but we risk being ridiculed for believing a man is God in the flesh, was killed, and came back to life.

We may not have to risk family and friends thinking we are crazy and abandoning us …

Actually, yes, we do.

Such is the cost of believing in and following Jesus. It may even cost us our lives.

If we want to find the joy and peace that comes with following Jesus, we first must be willing to actually follow Jesus. With all that it may cost us.

Emmanuel, thank You for coming to save us. Give us the resolve to pursue you throughout the world, or even to our literal neighbors and family.