Tag Archives: encouragement

We made it!!

mom-1508902_1280FINALLY, we come to what some may consider the capstone (or the low point, depending on your political orientation I suppose) of Proverbs—the “Proverbs 31 woman”. 

“The words of Lemuel king of Massa, which his mother taught him…”

I remember a brief conversation with my mother, probably back in the late 60’s; I was around 9 or 10.  She said to me, “Dawn, you can be ANYTHING you want to be, and you don’t even have to be just one thing—you can do more than that!”  I could grow up to be an engineer (like my dad) or a doctor, start my own business, wow. I was never really aware of any gender barriers, not in my family’s culture.  My orientation from youth was “the sky’s the limit!”  So what did I choose as my profession?

Nursing. (Duh.)

The word “feminism” carries different connotations for different individuals.  For example, there are some that get genuinely frustrated with the masculine references to God as “Father”, which I consider merely a cultural personification.  This confusion is actually nothing more than Satan’s devilish device to cloud the true issue of God’s love and ever-expanding justice.

I say “ever-expanding” because it seems that justice is one of the over-arching themes throughout the Bible, and I reference the story below as an example of how God is waiting for us to “co-labor” with Him (again, I have no problem with that pronoun) to define His love and justice to a very confused (and confusing) world.

Backstory: Moses and the people of Israel are standing on the threshold of the Promised Land.  Land ownership was an important concept, so the dividing of the land was hugely significant.  At this time in this culture, only men could “own” land, which was passed down to sons.  But this one guy (who had now died while wandering around in the wilderness during that infamous forty-year hike) was survived only by his five daughters.

Now, these ladies could have easily thrown up their hands in bitterness and just resigned themselves to their cultural fate.  OR….

“One day a petition was presented by the daughters…These women stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the tribal leaders, and the entire community at the entrance of the Tabernacle… ‘Why should the name of our father disappear from his clan just because he had no sons? Give us property along with the rest of our relatives.’ So Moses brought their case before the LORD.  And the LORD replied to Moses, ‘The claim of the daughters of Zelophehad is legitimate. You must give them a grant of land along with their father’s relatives. Assign them the property that would have been given to their father.’”

Whoa!  Talk about bold!  Talk about initiative!  These women not only acquired justice for themselves, but reading the next several verses, also for many who were to follow.  New regulations were set up because of their action.

Another interesting point is their motivation.  They didn’t want their dad’s name to be disrespected by being left out of the land grant.  It wasn’t about them, it was about the honor of their father’s name.

Hmmmm….

God calls us to “come boldly to the throne of grace…”  It is there first and foremost that we find the true definition of justice, and God’s heart in forwarding that very thing, not merely for ourselves, but for those who are to follow, and most importantly, for the honor of our Creator’s character.  In fact, the Cross is the eternal symbol of, not only God’s love, but His justice.  And it’s paid in full.

Now, THAT’S bold.

Proverbs 31:1; Numbers 27   Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 9353-9365). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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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!


Forever Family

Proverbs 27:10.

“Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” (KJV).

Never Abandon a Friend:

It’s unfortunate that we’re living in a world today where people don’t value friendships like they once did. Ours is a throwaway society where – if people get upset, hurt or offended – they abandon friendships. One of the biggest signs of our times is the fact that there is even a button on the social networking site Facebook where you can unfriend people!

In another Proverb, Solomon writes that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (17:17) and “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (18:24). Ultimately, I believe those verses best describe our friendship with Jesus, but they are also an example for us to follow: to love at all times, to help people in their day of adversity, and to stick closer than a brother.

When Things Get Rough:

The Hebrew word eyd that is translated as calamity here means distress, burden or calamity. It is also translated in other versions of the Bible as “disaster”, “in your time of need” and “when things get rough” (The Message). In other words, when life happens! We all have days like that – like over a month ago when my oldest son Caleb was in a car accident. He and three of his football teammates were in a terrible collision that resulted in all of them being taken to the hospital. One of them had a concussion. Another one broke his nose. I thank the Lord that he and his friends are alive and recovering nicely. However, a month later and we are still working things out with our auto insurance company. The day of calamity, indeed!

Solomon gives us this advice for what to do in the day of calamity: Go to a friend for help. This is why it’s important that we never abandon friends, because we never know when we will need a helping hand. In the New Testament, over and over again we are encouraged to bear one another’s burdens, or share each other’s troubles and problems (Galatians 6:2). It is important though that as much as we should be willing to help others, we also need to learn how to ask people for help when we are in need as well.

We are Family:

I thank God for the church. The church is the family of God, and the Bible tells us that God sets the solitary in families. Church is a place where we can love and care for one another, pray for one another, encourage one another, and help each other.

If you don’t attend a local church, I want to encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church in your community and get involved. You will find support, help and hope there! And if you do attend a church, be faithfully committed to being a part of the body of believers there. Even though you might be doing well and feel like you don’t need them, maybe someone there needs what you have to give. We are family!


I Will Arise!

Proverbs 24:15-16.

“Lay not wait , O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” (KJV). 

There is a false teaching going around the church today that says, “Once you believe in Jesus and become a Christian, you won’t have any more problems in your life.” However, as much as I wish that was true, there is no Biblical basis for this belief. In fact, Jesus Himself said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Just because you believe in Jesus doesn’t mean that you won’t have any more troubles. Walking in obedience to God’s Word is no guarantee that you will never have a problem in your life. However, when Jesus is your Lord and Saviour, He will always be there to help to overcome those trials and challenges. There is a story in the life of Jesus that illustrates this truth for us:

“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:35-39).

Sometimes we think that bad things only happen when we disobey God. But Scripture tells us otherwise. Jesus’ disciples found themselves in a storm immediately after being obedient to Jesus’ command to “cross over to the other side of the lake.” You can be walking in faith and obedience, doing your best to live by the principles of wisdom in the Bible, and yet troubles will still come. However, you don’t have to let those troubles overcome you. When a storm comes, remind yourself that Jesus is in your boat. And Jesus can bring peace into the most dark and difficult storms in our lives!

The next time you fall down, don’t sit there and have a pity party and say, “I’ve fallen but I can’t get up!” No! Instead, do what the prophet Micah said to do: “Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:7-8). When you get knocked down, ARISE!


Small Strength

Proverbs 24:10.

“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (KJV).

The Crisis:

It was the fall of 1994 in Surrey, BC, and I was 22 years old. I was involved in full-time ministry as the assistant youth pastor at Victory Christian Centre (now called Relate Church). And I had just gotten engaged to Liza. Everything was going my way. We were going to get married, have lots of children, and serve the Lord together.

And that’s when it happened.

I got called into the pastor’s office and he told me that because of the financial difficulties that the church was having, they were going to have to lay me off. I was still welcome to work with the youth on a volunteer basis if I wanted to, they just didn’t have the money to pay me anymore.

And that’s when I started freaking out. How was I going to get married in less than six months? I couldn’t start a family without a job! And so I made the decision to call off the wedding.

The Challenge:

But thank God for fellow believers in the church, amen? One of my friends shared the above Bible verse with me. He said, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Ouch! That was a Scripture spanking for sure! He was saying that if I was to give up just because of a difficult challenge, then my strength was small.

You see, it’s easy to appear strong and look like you have it all together when everything is going good in your life. But when a crisis comes up, then you find out what’s really in your heart. And so I made a decision to step out in faith, go ahead with the wedding, and trust God to provide for my needs.

Chris and Liza - March 25, 1995

Chris and Liza – March 25, 1995

The Conquest:

I’m happy to report that even before two weeks had passed and I was finished at the church, I had another job already lined up working as a prayer minister for an international television ministry. While I was working there, I learned a lot about prayer and had many great experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I still worked with the youth in our church until the Lord called me to the youth ministry at another church down the road – Bible Fellowship Church (now called Horizon Church). We have four wonderful children, and have been married for over 20 years now. God is good!

What kind of adversity, crisis or challenge are you facing today?

Life is hard, but I want to challenge you to look to the Lord today to help you with whatever you’re going through! “I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:1-3).


Shepherd’s Pie

Proverbs 13:2

“A man shall eat good by the fruit of [his] mouth: but the soul of the transgressors [shall eat] violence.”

The Fruit of the Mouth

As part of our church anniversary on we enjoyed lunch together. A team of mostly young women spent several hours preparing the food on both the Saturday and the Sunday, and then they served the meal to those who stayed after the morning service. The same ladies cleared away and washed up. They left church mid-afternoon knowing that they had done a good job, but their mood was lifted collectively by the many words of thanks and encouragement they received from so many people who benefited from their work. Interestingly, our guest speaker when talking about discipleship during the evening service said; “encouragement is important and powerful.” You could say that our church ate well yesterday, before the fruit of our mouths provided huge and well deserved portions of encouragement to those responsible for what we ate.

A Different Meal

The main course for our anniversary meal was shepherd’s pie. When Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd He warned about the voices of strangers, thieves and robbers who come to steal and destroy. The suggestion is that theft and destruction are not limited to physical acts of violence, but may also be initiated by words. There is no doubt that words can change lives, which is why the book of Proverbs contains so many warnings about how we speak, how we choose our words, and what finally comes out of our mouths. The warning in this verse is that bad words bring a different meal to those who speak them.

We ate good food yesterday at church and thankfully we responded well with words of thanks and appreciation. We’re human. We need to be encouraged. We need to lift other people with our words, and we need to be lifted by the words of others. What we receive will surely be governed by what we give.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (John 10:7-13)


Consider Your Words

Proverbs 10:32

“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.”

Think Before You Speak

The power of words and the language we use should never be under-estimated. Words can build up or words can destroy. A wise and righteous person thinks before speaking, and chooses his or her words carefully. A foolish or wicked person rarely stops to think, and words fall out of his or her mouth like tiny bombs that inflict all kinds of damage.

When I think back to my childhood I remember hearing words that shaped me. Call a child stupid enough times and he or she will grow up believing that they are stupid. My year four teacher at junior school made it clear that she didn’t like me, and that she thought that I was no good. I was eight years old. I knew I could never please this woman of harsh words, so I gave up trying. But I didn’t just give up trying in her class. I gave up trying for a long time, and never really enjoyed school again. I left school at sixteen.

Worse Than Profanities

Words spoken without thought, and especially those spoken with evil intent, are worse than profanities. Most children are brought up not to use profanities. My father would have punished me if he had heard me swear. But I have heard many words that are worse than profanities. Any word spoken with the intention of causing hurt, for instance. Why use words designed to cause pain, when words could be used instead to encourage family members, colleagues at work, friends in church, and friends outside the church? Sadly, it is all too easy to say the wrong thing.

The Bible teaches us to be encouragers, and provides many examples. These include Moses and Joshua, Samuel and David, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus and His disciples, Paul and many of the early evangelists who accompanied him on his travels. Most of these relationships also contained a significant element of mentoring. These were intentional relationships in which one person sought to build up and encourage another, the aim being to help and enable the other person to fulfill their God-given potential.

Stop a moment and take a brief look at your own life. Consider the words spoken to you and the words you say to others. Who is encouraging you, who is an encouragement to you, and who are you encouraging? Could God be pointing you into a mentoring relationship?