Category Archives: Faithfulness

Signing A Book

The Book

Some of you may remember when we first came out with the book version of this blog. It was back in 2014, and we had hopes of putting all of our original “thoughts” in print.

Unfortunately, due to the size of the whole project ( approximately 350,000 words!), all we ended up having published was Volume One. And sadly, Volume One only contained “thoughts” from the first ten chapters of Proverbs.

Had we had more help with publishing and promoting, the rest of Proverbial Thought may have found its way to a bookstore near you. But hey, at least one book got completed and published, and you can still order it online 🙂

The Autograph

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was with several other men at breakfast when one of them, an older man, introduced himself and then asked my name. When I said “Anthony Baker,” he replied, “Baker? Do you write about Proverbs?”

“Why, yes I do,” I answered.

“Well, what do you know!” he exclaimed. “I read your Proverbs blog all the time! Been reading it for a couple of years!”

Now, I don’t know how you would’ve felt, but I was stunned. Then, to add amazement to the mix, I found out Proverbial Thought had helped this gentleman recover from a traumatic brain injury by helping him keep his mind working (at least that what another man sitting nearby told me)!

Myself and Bob Neely. He doesn’t look it, but he was actually happy 😉

Then, just this morning, Mr. Bob Neely came by my table where we were sitting for breakfast once again, and what did he have in his hand? A marked-up copy of Proverbial Thought: Volume One! Mr. Neely had purchased the book not long after it was published, but today I got to autograph it.

Cool! Absolutely cool!

Suggestions for the Future

Mr. Neely and I stood and talked a few moments as he passed the book around to the other men at the table. During the conversation, he told me: “I’m really glad y’all started over with some new stuff on Proverbs – I was glad to see it.”

Then Mr. Neely asked: “What are you going to do next? Could you do something on the Book of James?”

“Believe it or not,” I replied, “others have suggested the same thing.”

So, get ready… Proverbial Thought (& More) may evolve into a lot more!


Let this be an encouragement to all of you guys (and ladies) who contribute to this blog. We may never know this side of heaven how God is using what we write, but He has promised that His Word will not return void.

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11 KJV

To God be the glory!

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Debts & Promises

My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1‭-‬5, NKJV

Co-signed

Have you ever needed to take out a loan or get a service (cable, telephone, electricity, etc.), but your credit was … lacking? You need a co-signer to get that loan or service.

Perhaps you have been on the other side and have been the co-signer. It can be scary either way. I have been on both sides.

I have had to pay debts friends and family could not pay, and sometimes it was a struggle financially.

This could be a lesson on Christ’s sacrifice posting our debt of sin. Instead, this is about seeing how our promises can catch us.

Leaving the Altar

You see, our commitments have effects on others. We promise to pay that bill. We promise to be at that event. We promise to carry our fair share.

And then we don’t.

We put up the strong front and commit to keeping other promises.

Say, tithing.

But Jesus says, “if you bring your gift to the altar, and then remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and first go be reconciled to your brother before returning to offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23‭-‬24)

In other words, humble yourself, and do what is right.

If as the one who owes, confess your wrong or inability and seek forgiveness. If as the one who is owed, forgive the debt (of the promise, of the burden) and move on (possibly through making a plan or as simply releasing all responsibility).

The big point is to hold onto the relationship above all else.

That is why Jesus sacrificed glory, comfort, and life: to forgive our debts and broken promises to restore the relationship. And He arose to guarentee it for eternity.


Is Shallow and Stagnant THAT Attractive?

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. – Proverbs 5:15

It never fails to amaze me how many men and women leave their spouses after years of being married. Yet, that is exactly what happens when husbands and wives are more attracted to the shallow wells of new relationships and the stagnant streams of painted beauty.

I can attest that after nearly 25 years of marriage, I would not trade the depth of my relationship with my wife for a puddle, one that is likely to dry up in the heat of the next drought.

The refreshing and renewing qualities of our relationship could never be replaced by the single-issue sameness of surface-beauty expectations.

The natural appeal of illicit relationships is just that – natural. Fortunately for my wife and me, our relationship is based on more than natural affections; it is strengthened by spiritual connections that only years of life together can forge.

Yes, there are temptations which we all must deal with, but how much easier it is to rebuff them when you realize what you’ve really got.

Are shallow wells and stagnant water that attractive to you? Why not take the time to lower your bucket a little deeper? The water’s much better there.

My wife and I while visiting our daughter and son-in-law in Charleston, S.C.


A Final Thought (5 Years, 10 Months Later!)

Proverbs 31:31

“Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

What of Us?

At long last, we have come not only to the end of a chapter, but the whole book of Proverbs (and the second time through – it’s taken SIX YEARS!). The last verse of the last chapter is both a statement of praise for the virtuous woman and a challenge for us. Wisdom will receive the fruit of her labor. Her works will praise her in the gates. But what of us? What of our works?

The virtuous woman of this chapter has done everything with wisdom and grace; she deserves what is coming to her. The product of her faithfulness, her ingenuity, her holiness, and her benevolence will speak of her in the highest places of honor. Her works are her testimony; she need not speak of herself. But what will be said of us?

Fruit? Praise?

When it all comes down to where the rubber meets the road, we will reap what we sow. If the nearly two years it took to write the “thoughts” found here on this site (or the book which hopefully will follow) were worth anything, there will be fruit, and Wisdom will be praised in the gates.

proverbial thought pictureIt is hard to believe that almost SIX WHOLE YEARS have gone by since the first post on Proverbial Thought was written back on April 1, 2012! Much has happened; much has been endured; much has been learned; many have been blessed, and many have become wiser.

But the real blessings yet to be had are the ones that will be revealed in eternity: the marriages that stayed together; the poor choices not made; the hearts made more in tune with God’s Spirit; the lives saved by simple moments of vulnerability; the eyes turned to Christ, the Wisdom of God.

Thank you, dear friends and subscribers, especially all the contributors, for a wonderful and enlightening journey through this ancient book of wisdom – God’s Wisdom. I pray it was fruitful.

Now, what next?


Taking Care

Proverbs 31:27

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Dutifully Looking After

As we continue our look at the virtuous, godly wife, we see that she takes care of her home.

She makes sure her family is taken care of, that the chores are taken care of, that obligations are taken care of, and everything is in order.

“[She] eateth not the bread of idleness.” She does not see the mess in the living room and think, “That can wait.” Instead, she makes sure it gets picked up. She does not see the dishes in the sink and think, “I will do that after dinner.” She knows that putting something off until later generally keeps things put off until later.

I also think that all of this means that she knows when to put aside all of the work that needs to be down around the house and have some fun and share some love with her family. The cleaning and remembering to get things done keep the house in order, but she knows her family (and friends!) need attention, too.

The Loving Bride

As the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Church, we must remember to take care of our household. This is why having at least a basic understanding of church history and theology is important.

Just as we would not allow a sexual predator near our children, we do not want bad teaching about God to take hold.

Just as we would not allow our children to run out into a busy street, we do not want bad teaching about holy living leading people astray.

We cannot allow these to last long, because once they are entrenched in church culture and understanding, they are nearly impossible to get out. For evidence of this, just look at what happened within the Church in the past couple centuries to see all of the division and disagreement.

Heavenly Father, give us wisdom and endurance to care for each of our households. Help us keep our family strong and safe and Your Church strong and holy.


Beautiful Hands

Proverbs 31:10, 13

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”

Mixed Memories

A long time ago my mother and grandmother (on my dad’s side) would go shopping for fabric. I will never forget those days, for they were some of the most miserable of my young life.

I was forced to endure the summer heat as they drove around town looking for sales in a ’71 Ford Maverick with no air and little ventilation. I walked beside my mom for what seemed like an eternity as they searched for patterns and fabric that would become my school clothes and their dresses. Women used to be proud to be called seamstresses, but not anymore. But there are exceptions, and my wife is one of them.

A Hard Worker

I have never met a harder worker than my wife, Valerie; she works rings around everyone, including myself. Until she became ill, she was always the first one awake and the last one asleep. She is still the last one to sit down when visitors come to eat, the last one to finish cleaning after a church social, and the only one who can handle a phone call, fold laundry, do dishes, and complete an income tax return at the same time.

On many days my wife hurts so much that no pain medication will touch it. Sometimes one day’s ordinary activity will leave her bed-ridden half of the next. Yet, she never gives up. She enjoys the duties of running a home and only complains when she can’t complete them to her own satisfaction.

Scarred, but Beautiful

When I first read 31:13 I thought of my wife’s hands…of how she loves to sew…of how she always brags on how her grandmother was an excellent seamstress, and how she always dreamed of being like her. I think of how she sewed her own wedding dress and then taught our girls to sew.  Now, because of her fibromyalgia, there are mornings I must rub her fingers before she can even move them, but it isn’t long before they “worketh willingly.”

20 years ago this June!

20 years ago this June!

The hands of a virtuous woman are not the flawless hands of a supermodel; they are scarred. They are scarred from oven burns, needle pricks, tire swing ropes. They are dry from folding laundry, wrinkled from dishwater, and paper-cut from clipping coupons. They are even bruised and sore: bruised from spanking bottoms and applauding home-runs; sore from pushing a discouraged husband out the door and up the ladder.

When I think of the hands of a Proverb 31 woman I don’t think of perfect hands, but I do think of beautiful hands. I think of Valerie’s.

Yes, I found a virtuous wife, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the rubies in the world.


Misjudged

Proverbs 28:21
To have respect of persons is not good: for a piece of bread that man will transgress.”
To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.” (NASB)

Being Wary

Sadly, we live in a world dominated by people who like to take advantage of others.

This is important to remember.

There are so many friendly faces and wealthy people to whom people turn in trust for the simple reason that they appear trustworthy or might be able pull some strings.

Another example that comes to mind is of all of those people out there who add to their resumes to get jobs. Through their resumes, they pretend to have received certain degrees, awards, and accolades, or they insert false positions at companies to make it appear they have more experience.

There are also stories of people who are passed over for promotions, and they end up stealing from the company.

It can be easy to misjudge people if we only look at face value and never dig beneath the surface.

Ultimately, only God knows the heart of people.

The Disciples’ Misunderstanding

I could not help but think of one famous biblical story as I read this proverb.

Jesus sat down for His last meal with His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion. Toward the end of the meal, Jesus is breaking bread with them, and then He sends Judas Iscariot to do what he would do.

The other Eleven disciples thought perhaps “that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.” (John 13:29, NASB)

Instead, Judas went to the Jewish leaders to help them arrest and kill Jesus.

The other disciples misjudged their friend, and Judas sinned against the Bread of Life.

God, help us to not show partiality or favoritism but to treat others with justice. Give us the strength to do what is right even when we disagree or are wronged. Help us to show Your love and grace in all circumstances.