The Hard Way

The following comes from a post I wrote for ProverbialThought.com. Even though I wrote this a couple of years ago, nothing has changed; I still see people making poor choices, making things harder than they need to be, and it breaks my heart. Oh, if only we would follow the path of Wisdom!

Proverbs 13:15

“Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” KJV

“A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction.” NLT

 A Hard Life

Every now and then you may encounter people with a look that older than than their age. You may meet a man who is only in his thirties, but looks like he over sixty. A young woman may cross your path that is wrinkled, bent over, and haggard, only to find out that she is 28 years way too old.

What makes people look like they are much older than their chronological age? Hard lives. Lifestyles bent on destruction.

To be fair, there are others that you may see who have been through a lot of pain and suffering due to circumstances beyond their control. These, too, may look older than they actually are. Life has been hard on them. But for many, what they have endured has been the result of a transgressor’s path, and that’s a hard road.

Good Sense

A person that exhibits good sense (“understanding”) is typically a person who takes better care of himself. Good sense says, “Hey, maybe staying up late every night partying until the sun comes up is a bad idea.” Good sense says, “You know, taking that drug might be harmful, not to mention addictive.

Someone with understanding and good sense is also somebody others respect and trust. For example, this type of man or woman is the one who gets the job or promotion. He or she is the one who gets awards and bonuses. They are also the ones who have lower life insurance premiums and rarely have to pay large down payments to purchase anything on credit.

However, the transgressor is the one who nobody really trusts closing the store at night. He’s the one who always calls in sick on Monday morning. Life insurance companies consider him a “high risk” and deny him coverage. And when it comes to buying a house or new car, all he can do is rent.

Advice for the Road

Let me give you some advice. If you are planning on traveling down the “hard road” of life, plan on things never going your way. But don’t think you can blame all of your woes on those with more than you, because they have “understanding;” they can see through your schemes.

Don’t blame the government. Don’t blame the church people. Don’t blame your boss (if you can keep one). Don’t blame anyone for the path that you have chosen.

Also, if you are planning to live a life that transgresses God’s word (His law), don’t blame Him when things don’t go the way you plan. He warned you.

So, when you find yourself living in a run-down motel, remember, Wisdom has been crying out, “You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding” (Proverbs 8:5 NLT).

When you won’t listen to Wisdom, your way will be hard.

2 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, General Observations, Life Lessons, wisdom

I’m Sorry, but It’s Mother’s Day

The Gripe

My dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to read the sometimes uncaring and cold-hearted commentary of a man without the “wo”;  a male without the “fe”;  and a testosterone-producing, horsepower-loving, father and husband who sometimes leaves the toilet seat up – on purpose. But that being said, I am not completely insensitive.

For example, I love kittens and puppies, the laughs of little children, and the occasional chick-flick. But more to the point, I understand that for some women, Mother’s Day is not the happiest day of the year.

Just the other day someone shared with me a link to an interesting and eye-opening article, An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day). I read it, thought about it, and got it. The only problem is that I (the pastor) am not the only one who contributes to the whole Mother’s Day celebration – mothers do!

If dad forgets to say, “Happy Mother’s Day, dear,” the wife gets her feelings hurt and then there’s Hades to pay. If the kids forget to say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” or forget to make a card out of noodles and Elmer’s glue, start handing out the tissues and Xanax. If the pastor forgets to make a big deal out of the holiday, or forgets to purchase carnations to distribute at the end of the service, then some little old lady will be demanding a special meeting to discuss his replacement.

So, as one who’s congregation is made up of more women than men, by a large – not a good word – significant percentage, what in the name of Oprah am I supposed to do???

The Plan

Here’s my plan: I will try to please everybody.

Mothers, we love you. Single women, we love you. Wives without children, we love you. Single, expectant mothers, we love you. Women who’ve lost their children, we love you. Women who want to have children but can’t, we love you. Those of you who had an abusive mother and still nurse the scars, we love you. Women who have adopted or are foster parents, we love you. Women who teach and mentor kids that are not your own, we love you. And what’s more, ladies, God loves you and understands your story more than any earthly man, even more than Dr. Phil.

Now, to those of you who just hate kids and want nothing to do with them, well… I guess I can’t please everybody.

The Song

So, I’m sorry, but it is the Mother’s Day weekend, and some traditions must go on. Each year on this blog I post one of the best Mother’s Day songs ever written, if not the best; I can’t help it if it doesn’t please everybody.  Just understand it was written by a half-brained male with frequent-stayer points at the Dog House Inn.

My Mother :-)

My Mother :-)

3 Comments

Filed under current events, Humor, Parenting, Relationships and Family

National Day of Prayer 2015

Our Resource

We seek out panaceas to resolve the conflicts of the world and to heal our own personal and private wounds. Many are consulting the psychiatrist, the doctor, the minister, and anyone else who will listen. But we do not seem to recognize that the great need in our own personal lives is prayer. Prayer is the greatest neglected resource that we have; it’s a power that we simply are not using today.” – J. Vernon McGee (emphasis mine)

Today is the National Day of Prayer, and so I want to encourage each of you to pray. We need to be on our knees for our country, our cities, and our homes instead of rioting, protesting, and cursing each other. Oh, how much could change if we would just take advantage of the resource that’s been provided to us!

However, be careful; prayer is nothing but idle words and wishful thinking, motivational self-talk at best, if the Object of our prayer is not God.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him (Jesus), that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” – 1 John 5:13-15 (emphasis mine)

Pray, but go to God in prayer. Prayer doesn’t change things – He does.

Specifics

When you pray, pray with intent. Don’t pray in generalities; be specific. If you don’t already have a list of specifics, let me suggest a few to get you started. Let the Holy Spirit guide you after these.

  • Praise God for the opportunity to pray. Thank God that He even allows us into His presence.
    • “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.” – Psalm 100:4
  • Confess your sins to God, and repent. 
    • “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” – Psalm 32:5
    • “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
  • Pray for your President (or Prime Minister), your regional officials, and your local government leaders by name, if possible. 
    • “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. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-4
  • Pray for Wisdom.
    • “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with [my] whole heart.” – Psalm 119:34
    • “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” – Proverbs 4:7

“A man is powerful on his knees.”  – Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, current events, Prayer

Riots from a Biblical Perspective

Just this morning I read a tweet from the ACLU that declared “Black Spring has begun.” At a time when racial tensions are high, why foment them even more? Why encourage it?

Most of the reporting going on these days has nothing to do with journalism; it’s more about stirring up a story for ratings. A combination of manufactured stories, lawless “thugs” looking for any opportunity destroy, and a news media constantly driven to push “breaking news” have contributed to an overall spirit of bitterness and hate.

On the urging of certain race baiters and hate merchants who blasphemously wear the title of “Reverend,” youth have been running the streets, misinformed, angry, and burning down their own neighborhoods. And they think this is supposed to help?

Romans 12 and 13 have a lot to say to what has been going on in Baltimore and all the other cities where riots have been going on. Romans 13:10 is especially noteworthy…

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.”

Think about that verse. Meditate on it. Love doesn’t steal from its neighbor. Love doesn’t burn its neighbor’s store down. Love does not drag his neighbor out into the street and beat him to death. Love does not pour lighter fluid on his neighbor and try to light him on fire. Love does not smash his neighbor’s cars. Love does not threaten and curse his neighbor’s race. Love does not destroy his neighbor’s hometown.

“No justice, no peace!” has been the rallying cry of so many. But what is justice? Is is not the fulfilling of the law? How, then, can hate-filled destruction aimed at innocents neighbors bring justice? “Love” is the fulfilling of the law.

Racism may always be with us to some degree, but those who must continually stir it up and continue it will one day stand before a Holy God and give an account.

What would Jesus do? What should Christians do? One thing is for certain, had the truly innocent Jesus been falsely accused and crucified today, and if Al Sharpton was in charge, then Jerusalem would be burned to to the ground quicker than a match could light. Sounds wrong, doesn’t it? Because it is.


 

Sunday evening I decided to record a sermon which expounded on Romans chapter 13. In the light of what is going on in my country, as I read God’s Word and compared it to what is going on in our nation, I became more and more indignant. No one was in the sanctuary when I spoke, so no one was there to hear what I said. But I did record it, and I am not ashamed to share it with the world.

This country needs to hear about things from God’s perspective.

bible

Click on the Picture

 

 

12 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Unity, current events, Life Lessons, Preaching

Secrets to a Long Life

Morning Questions

I don’t know what it is about Monday mornings and the questions kids want to ask while I am driving. Something must happen over the weekends which cause children to seek wise counsel from the school bus driver.

One question I got the other day was just too big for me. I mean, seriously, I laughed, shook my head, and ignored the kindergartner. He asked, “Mr. Baker, why is the world so big?” If I had answered truthfully and said, “Because that’s the way God made it,” then I would have been fired. So, since I couldn’t think of anything overly stupid with which to respond, I stayed silent.

However, this morning, there was a question I had to answer. This morning a young girl got on the bus and asked, “Mr. Baker, do you know the secret to living a long life?” “Well, there are several secrets, but what’t the one you know?”

“Play the harmonica,” she replied.

“Play the harmonica?”

“Yes,” she said matter-of-factly. “Because playing the harmonica will help your lungs, and strong lungs will help you live longer.”

“Is that so?” I asked. “Yep,” answered the little girl.

“Well,” I replied, “my daddy played the harmonica, and he’s dead.”

My Secrets 

OK, so I’ve never been convicted for the over use of tact. Sometimes I am too brutally honest for my own good (so my wife says). Other times, however, I can be sweet and compassionate – just not this morning, evidently.

Anyway, this morning’s question got me to thinking. Could I come up with some secrets for living a long life?

10 Secrets to Living a Long Life (by someone who hasn’t yet died):

  1. Never pull the trigger when it’s pointed at you.
  2. Never smoke more than 3 cigars in an hour.
  3. Never jump from a moving vehicle if it’s moving through the air.
  4. Never corner a rock badger.
  5. Drink at least 3 glasses of something a week.
  6. Eat food.
  7. Don’t drive drunk, or with a teenage girl with directional issues.
  8. Breath regularly, except in the tourist’s bathroom at the Bush’s Baked Bean factory.
  9. Hide all sharp objects, scissors, and ammunition before going to bed with an angry wife.
  10. Drink excessive amounts of coffee.

Serious Secrets

Now that you have my secrets for living a long, not necessarily healthy, life, what does the Bible say about long life? What kind of “secrets” can we find hidden in that wonderful book of Wisdom?

5 Biblical Secrets to Long Life

  1. Obey and honor your parents (Deut. 5:16; Eph. 6:1-3).
  2. Don’t mess around with another person’s spouse (Prov. 6:29-35).
  3. “Keep my commandments, and live…” (Prov. 7:2).
  4. “Forsake the foolish, and live…” (Prov. 9:6).
  5. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – that’s the secret to ETERNAL life (John 3:15-16; 10:28; Rom. 6:23).

 

So, what are your secrets to living a long life? Do you have any more to share with us? Leave them in the comment section so we can all learn to live a little longer ;-)

5 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Humor, Life Lessons, Life/Death

Riverside Sermons

Dot Net

There are a lot of .com’s out there, including great ones like ProverbialThought.com. But today I want to share a .net with you: Sermon.net.

Sermon.net is a great place to upload, archive, and share sermons for free. Chris Jordan pointed me to these guys and I have been using them every week to upload sermons to our church’s Facebook page.

The Blogger Preaches

I clean up nicely ;-)

I clean up nicely ;-)

If you are new to this blog it might even surprise you that I am a preacher, so just for kicks I am going to share with you some of my uploaded sermons (or messages, as I usually call them).

I’d love to hear your feedback, especially if any of the following messages blesses or convicts you. And, let it be known that I’d love to come share my stories with your congregation: stories from the school bus, along with stories from God’s Word.

“I Just Can’t Praise Him Enough”

“What We Need Before Revival”

“The Five Love Languages”

Click on the picture to hear the sermon I preached.

Click on the picture to hear the sermon I preached.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under baptist, Preaching

How Does It Hurt You?

The Argument

You have heard this argument before, but I want to phrase it several other ways, just to help clarify it.

  • Little Julio likes pulling little Emily’s ponytail at recess. How does that hurt you?
  • Greg and Henry each enjoy the sight of blood, along with the thrill of dismemberment. They aren’t planning on cutting off your index finger, so how does that hurt you?
  • Habib thinks it’s perfectly fine to beat his wife to a pulp when she disappoints him, and she believes he has every right to do so, because he’s her husband. Their marriage may not be healthy in your eyes, but they think it’s OK. The are happy and in love, so how does that hurt you?
  • Mary, Bob, Sue, Helen, and Marty all live in a communal relationship and want to marry each other, spend the rest of their lives with each other, and ultimately die together so at a predetermined time, so as not to leave one behind to grieve without the others. They love each other, have no children, and are all orphans with no debt to any creditors. What they want to do is mutually agreed upon out of love for each other, but you aren’t invited to the going away party. How does that hurt you?

The Answer

Honestly, in the most immediate of terms, I am not hurt by any of the above hypotheticals. Similarly, I am not hurt by the murder of a homeless man in Thailand, either. But just because it doesn’t hurt me doesn’t make it right. Of course, when it comes to whether or not same-sex marriage itself will hurt me is one thing; making it a Constitutional right and forcing me to go along with it is something totally different.

The justification for same-sex or multiple-partner marriage cannot be based on what is felt by others. A victim-less crime is still a crime, even if no one ever feels the effects.

1 Comment

Filed under America, Culture Wars, current events, Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Marriage