Category Archives: Uncategorized

No Laughing Matter

Proverbs 3:34

“Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”

Those Who Scorn

Have you ever been a scorner? The definition of the Hebrew word used in this verse is shown in Strong’s as ‘make mouths at’ to scoff, mock, or deride. Pause a while and let the meaning sink in. Would you want to be known as a scorner?

Our world is full of those who scorn. Some might call it comedy. If we consider stand-up comedians, then most derive their living from scorning others. Their targets may be politicians, celebrities, or even family members. Sometimes they pick on people in the audience. But you don’t have to be a comedian to scorn. It happens daily throughout all levels of society. It happens in schools, in the workplace, and sadly even in church.

Jesus knew what it was like to be scorned. There are many examples in Scripture of ways in which Jesus was mocked by the Pharisees during His public ministry. One such incident occurs in Luke 16 after Jesus told a parable about an unrighteous servant:

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. (Luke 16:14 NIV)

Far worse was the mocking that Jesus endured after His arrest, during His trial, and even while He hung on the cross. I am moved to tears as I consider how and what He suffered, knowing that He did it all for me. He did it knowing that 2,000 years ago I would more likely have been one of the scorners than one of His followers. My failure to follow Him in the earlier years of my life places me firmly in that category. But the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross was to bring the possibility of forgiveness to all, even those who scorn.

The Opposite to a Scorner

The opposite to a scorner? It is defined in last word of Proverbs 3:34: He giveth grace to the lowly. God gives grace, kindness, favor to the lowly, the gentle, the needy, the humble, the meek, the poor. Jesus reemphasized this in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). Each Beatitude begins with the word ‘blessed.’ Which would you rather be? A scorner or one who is blessed?

Lord Jesus you know the times in my life when I have been far from being lowly, gentle, meek or humble. You have watched as I have joined in with the scorners. Despite this you chose to be a recipient of scorn, and you allowed yourself to be treated with appalling cruelty so that your Father could forgive me for mine. Through your absolute grace please bring to completion the change in my heart from being a scorner to becoming lowly. Thank you.

Advertisements

Precision Engineering

Proverbs 3:19-20

19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Appreciating Creation

It is rare that a young person understands the magnificence and magnitude of creation. As a child creation was something I explored but did not appreciate, despite growing up on a small and very beautiful island. With friends I spent hours playing on the rocks and beach at weekends and in school holidays. Our parents trusted us to engage safely with the elements. We were aware of the tides when venturing far from shore to find the best rock pools, and we never got cut off. We knew the power of the waves in the winter storms. While we may have returned home soaking wet at times, we always came home safely. There was one thing we did not do. We never once considered the hand of the Creator in the landscape and seascape that formed our playground.

Precision Engineering

To truly appreciate creation it is necessary to know the Creator. The Lord God who skillfully established the planet we inhabit, and through an intelligence that exists beyond any human understanding, made it possible for life to exist on what we call earth. With absolute precision God positioned every heavenly body and caused the universe to function. Every component of the universe is necessary to the existence of earth, and its ability to sustain life. This was not some random event but a deliberate act delivered by the Being we call God.

The two verses above only scratch the surface. It is impossible for the mind of man to comprehend who God is, why He chose to create a whole universe to allow a tiny planet to breathe, or why He wanted to create man in His image. But He did. What possible response can there be other than to worship Him?

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,

Consider all the works thy hands hath made.

I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,

HOW GREAT THOU ART, HOW GREAT THOU ART!

(Stuart K Hine) 


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.


Simple Definition

Proverbs 2:10-11

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:”

What is wisdom?

As has been discussed several times since we began this trek through Proverbs, wisdom is found only through God. Wisdom is the understanding of something and comes from knowledge.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 KJV

We should not worry about anything, but thank God that He is in control. With this understanding, we will be able to live wisely in a world full of corruption, hatred, and stupidity. Even when we make mistakes or sin, we can know that God is in control. This gives us a peace in our circumstances that we cannot explain, but we can understand that God is with us and watching over us.

With this wisdom and understanding, we can discern better what is within God’s will for our lives. This is how we are preserved and kept. It does not necessarily mean we are kept from physical, financial, or emotional harm, but it does mean we have the peace and assurance that our standing with God is good through the power of Jesus Christ.

Remember the Source

Merciful Lord, give us Your wisdom and understanding to know that You are watching over us and have it all in Your hands. You told us that if we just ask, You will give it to us. In the powerful name of Jesus the Christ, grant us our desire: wisdom and understanding of You, that we may have peace and assurance, that we may share Your love with the world.


Desired, Sought, and Treasured

Proverbs 2:1-5 

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”

Treasure Hunting

There are people in the UK who arm themselves with metal detectors to search ancient battlefields and settlements for long lost treasure. While a few stumble upon finds of considerable importance and value, the majority search for years without finding anything much. Most never give up the search, convinced that one day they will make an important find.

Verse 4 of Proverbs 2 suggests that we should search for wisdom as if it were treasure, hidden in some secret storehouse. Wisdom is not a discovery to be made in an instant, some sort of easy one-off find. The search for wisdom should last a lifetime, the aim of the search to gain insight, understanding and knowledge of God. Such knowledge will lead us towards completeness in our relationship with Him, but it will also teach us to fear God.

Finding Fear

How and why does fear come into the equation? Moses was a man who knew how to fear the Lord, and could help answer this question. His first real fear encounter with God occurred with the burning bush incident, when Moses began to learn an awesome respect for God. He was a man who was changed because of his experience of God, evident in the way that his face was radiant after spending time in God’s presence.

That’s the key. Spending time in God’s presence will open our minds and allow us to understand more of God.

But the wisdom that comes from such understanding should inevitably lead to fear. This fear could be defined as being overwhelmed by the realization of who God is.

That realization is surely something to be desired, something to be sought, and something to be treasured.


That Makes Three, Now What?

It may be hard to believe, but we have just now completed three tours through the book of Proverbs!

Our very first post was back on April 1, 2012. It took a little over 2 years to complete the first run, then about the same amount of time to complete a rerun of the series.

Now we have completed another 31-week abridged version and I’ve still not finished providing easy-to-locate links to the first posts under the tabs above! I apologize.

But where do we go from here?

This time around I did not contribute as much as I would have liked. Frankly, Daniel, Dawn, and Michael have pretty much done this all on their own. And what a great job they did!

The depths of God’s wisdom can never be fully plumbed; therefore, if we started all over from the beginning and did a brand new 2-year run through the over 700 proverbs in Proverbs, we’d still be bringing up new treasure.

But what say ye?

How many regular readers of this blog would like to see it continue with fresh material? Or, would you still keep coming back if we re-posted what has already been written each day?

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below, or you can give me a call at 423-645-8884. Or, if you prefer, email me at PastorACBaker@yahoo.com.

God bless!

Anthony


Woman-hater

bubble-19329_1920And one parting post on Proverbs 31 and God’s view of women, from this Macbook at least.

It fatigues my already tired mettle when that worn out rag of an opinion resurfaces that Christianity is somehow anti-female. Of course, now that the definition of “female” is under debate, I suppose that is, itself, a shifting deck in a storm of opinion.  No matter, because at least, historically, there is in my mind (admittedly, for what that’s worth…) substantial evidence that feminism has its actual roots in true Christianity. 

Note the word “true”.  Not necessarily organized religion, because most people never bother to check out the Source Document for themselves, and if they do, it’s merely a cursory study without much in depth “what’s-really-going-on-here” desire to know truth.  I realize that’s a scathing indictment, but there it is.  

Case in point, here’s a story that can be easily misunderstood, but in reality, it’s one of my faves:

“Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret.”

Duh.  He’s at the height of His popularity.  He and His crew can barely eat or get a moment alone to rest.  No wonder He fell sound asleep on the boat in the middle of a gale!!

“Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter. Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia…”

Okay, stop right there.  There’s an old saying in ancient Judaism that goes something like, “thank God I’m not a dog, a Gentile, or a woman.”  OUCH.  In addition to these three, children in this era were also not exactly seen as high on the social scale, especially daughters.  So here’s where Jesus’ comment can be taken as confusing to our 21st century sensibilities:

 “Jesus told her, ‘First I should feed the children— my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.’”

HOLD IT!  Call in the ACLU!  Protest marches!  Pink hats and speeches!  Massive Facebook posts!  NOT FAIR!  Most of us (me included) would be offended and walk away. 

But not this mom…

“She replied, ‘That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.’”

BINGO.  This gal chose, CHOSE mind you, to not be offended.  Her need, her love for her child, was more important than her selfish pride.  You want to call me a dog?  Fine, call me what you want, but this is what I’m asking for.

Except that Jesus wasn’t actually calling her a dog.  Look again.  Look at the company He was in, the dinner party of the other Jewish men.  With those words, Jesus was holding a very clear mirror up to their faces, spewing their filth back at them. When He said those words, however, I can see His eyes transfixed on the mother’s eyes, unblinking, waiting, encouraging, hoping,…

C’mon, girl.  Don’t give in to this cultural trash.  Don’t be offended with these words.  Reach out to the real Me.  Push through the pain.  Push through the confusion.  Forget your pride, it’s not worth it.  Think of your precious child.  Here I am. 

“Good answer!” he said.  “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.”

So actually the question about feminism, in this post at least, is rather moot.  The real point is the pressing compassion of the Christ, to every human, in every culture, in every time period, as well as our extreme need to not give up when it’s so very much easier to just throw in the towel and be offended, confused, or just too fatigued to press on. 

Because no matter what, His eyes are fixed on us.  Waiting for our response.

Mark 7:24-29 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.