Why do we ever treat any day like it’s “just another day”? This day was created by God as a unique, one-of-a-kind event never to be repeated, and possibly our last. Would you treat your last day as any other day?
Tag Archives: wisdom
The odds of finding a needle in a haystack are against the one searching for it. But tell a man there actually is a needle (or possibly a few) in the haystack he’s about to jump into, and one of two things will probably happen: he’ll either recalculate the odds, or proceed like a fool.
Can you think of real-life examples?
Note: All recent posts have and are being written on my iPhone while we are in the process of moving – I don’t have access to my computer and internet.
“As a married man with daughters ages, it becomes evident that it’s not his mind that goes; it’s that he acquires the ability to randomly change it.” – A. Baker
The following was taken from my other blog, ProverbialThought.com.
“If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.”
The first thing we should understand is that this proverb’s setting, according to most commentaries, is in something like a courtroom. The word “contendeth” implies such. However, as we watch the “wise” contending with “fools” in courtrooms around the world, it is becoming harder and harder to determine which is the defendant.
In most situations, if you were to walk into a courtroom, you would expect the “wise” to be on the side of the prosecution, while the “foolish man” would be the other guy: the one slobbering on himself, freaking out, and making outrageous, unreasonable arguments for his case. But sadly, especially in the cases where God is on trial; where morals, faith, and family are under assault; where Christ is deemed an unnecessary and offensive part of Christmas, the “wise” are on the defense.
Consider the following commentary on Proverbs 29:9. As you read it, think of those who want to remove any resemblance of faith and religion from the public square, such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, American Atheists, Richard Dawkins, etc.
He makes his argument not by logic, reason, or clear evidence but in a range of wild responses in which he “rages [a verb for “earthquake” in 30:21; Amos 8:8] or laughs,” probably in a mocking, sneering fashion to try to sway the verdict. The “peace” that ought to come from reconciliation, or at least a sound decision, is impossible. The matter bubbles on interminably to the pain of the wise and the distress of the community.
In a public speech to his fellow atheists gathering in Washington, D.C., Richard Dawkins gave some suggestions. When contending with those who believe in God, especially Christians, he advised: “Mock them. Ridicule them. In public…with contempt.“ Chillingly, in predictive fashion, the Bible says “that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts…” (2 Pet. 3:3). We must be getting close.
One day the Righteous Judge will hold court, but don’t lose hope. Even though we may have acted like fools in one way or another, those of us who’s Advocate is Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 2:1) have nothing to fear. Wisdom personified will argue on our behalf.
The foolish man, however, will be able to argue his own case. And once again, with rage and contempt, spewing out all manner of hatred and vile, he will attempt to justify himself.
But on that day, God will not be mocked (Gal. 6:7).
 David A. Hubbard and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Proverbs, vol. 15, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989), 462.
As many of you know, I now do a radio program that is a knock-off version of ProverialThought.com, my other blog. What I do is share thoughts and reflections on a different proverb each week, and some of the content is based on what I’ve already written.
Well, in preparation for this Sunday’s broadcast, I was doing a little study this morning on Proverbs 4:11-12. There’s a lot in these two verses, and I’m looking forward to unpacking them.
The following is what I wrote back in 2012 for ProverbialThought.com (which is also included in the book).
“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.”
A Way Walked
The first part of this passage is fairly simple to understand. In a moment of recollection, Solomon is reminding his children that he has given them good instruction; that he has led them.The best teachers are those who can say, “I have been down that road.” Sure, it is easy to give directions, but how much more valuable is the instruction when the teacher can relay first-hand experience?
As a bus driver, I drive the same route every day. I could draw a map that would be as accurate as one printed. But the difference between my map and an image from a satellite would be my knowledge of hazards unique to the vehicle. Unlike automobiles, 40 foot buses aren’t able to straighten some curves, or go under some bridges. Maps don’t usually show those things; but experience will.
Solomon is telling his children, as God is telling us, that the way ahead will be much easier if we listen to those who have gone before.
A Parental Challange
One interesting thing to note is where Solomon says “I have taught thee…” A deeper look at the word taught will show that it also means “to throw, to shoot.” Let this be a reminder – children are ours for a purpose.
In Psalm 127:5 David refers to children as “arrows” in a quiver. Arrows are worthless unless they are used. Arrows are worthless unless they are sharp, straight, and designed for a specific target. Children are to be considered tools with a mission, and we are to train them and keep them until we launch them toward their goals.
Straight, or Not?
Another interesting thing to consider is the word “straightened.” At first glance, we might consider the word here to mean the same as implied in the phrases “straight and narrow,” or “straight as an arrow.” Why, then, does Solomon say “thy steps shall not be straightened?” Does he want them to encounter curves along the way?
Actually, the word here is yatsar (Strong’s H3334), which can mean “to bind, be distressed, be in distress, be cramped, be narrow.” In reality, Solomon is saying that if one follows wise instruction, the way ahead will be less stressful, less binding, less depressing.
Thinking about this, I am immediately reminded of a particular place on the path through Rock City (a tourist attraction near Chattanooga, TN). It is called “fat man’s squeeze.” Seriously, if you are over 250 pounds, you might not make it through this narrow passage between two huge walls of rock. Yet, if you follow the signs along the way, you will be led to a different way around this “squeeze.”
If we would just follow wise counsel, the chances are much better that we will reach our goals, instead of stumbling or getting stuck along the way.
Beginning on Sunday morning, probably @10 am (that’s yet to be determined), May 28th, Proverbial Thought will actually take to the radio on WKWN AM & FM!
Up until a local gospel AM radio station folded (WFLI), I had been doing a regular broadcast on Sunday evenings at 5 pm. A couple of weeks ago the opportunity opened up to start a new program on a new station. The big plus this time around will be that it will be streamed on the internet, so people all over can listen, especially those who for years have subscribed to the blog, ProverbialThought.com.
So, what I hope to take place is that local and regional listeners to the radio program will go to the Facebook page for Proverbial Thought, Proverbial Thought Extra, to share their thoughts. I also hope it will lead them to dig a little deeper into God’s Word, and even use Proverbial Thought as a tool.
The radio station on which this program will air is not a Christian station, but it does have more of a conservative talk/news format. Therefore, this program will be geared to appeal to those with less of a gospel-programming taste, and more of a practical, rubber-meets-the-road mentality.
You see, Proverbs is a book that is profitable for all people, no matter their relationship with Christ. The wisdom in Proverbs is useful for everyday life, including business, politics, relationships, and other cultural issues. Hopefully this will prove useful to anyone who decides to listen.
On the other hand, the Wisdom of Proverbs is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24). Each week the program will cover one verse from one chapter, sequentially going through a chapter a week, starting over on the 32nd week. Each program will show how the wisdom of the particular proverb/verse can be practically applied, but it will also offer Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God.
A beloved brother in Christ, Paul Wheeler, gave the funds to put the last program (“The Voice from the River”) on the air, and he wanted to give for this one, too. As a matter of fact, he was the one that asked me to continue preaching on the radio after I resigned from my last church, because he wanted to keep the program going, promising to do so even after his death!
For the record, Bro. Paul Wheeler is a decorated Vietnam veteran who first started the program under the name “Veterans for Christ.” However, when he started attending the church where I pastored, and after his voice and strength began to wear out (due to lung cancer), he told me, “You take the program, Pastor, and I’ll keep it on the air as long as you want to do it.”
So, please keep this program in your prayers, and listen to it when you can. Also, check out the blog (and the “About” page) and the Facebook page.
I’d love to hear your feedback.
– Anthony Baker
Not a Repeat
Just a week or so ago I published a post listing a few things “I Don’t Know.” That post was actually a re-hashed re-post of an older post. In other words, you read a slightly-modified re-run.
How many more times will I use hyphenated words? I don’t know.
How many more times will I re-post old posts? More than you will notice, I hope.
This post, however, is brand new for 2017. No funny taste, and no freezer burn.
I Don’t Understand
Tonight I was reading some posts from a new blog I just discovered, RebeccaLemke.com. When I scrolled down to where I could leave comment, there was a list of places where the blog post had been shared, among them the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. That led me to make a statement to my wife as she sat across from me, still doing taxes late at night, “I just don’t understand Pinterest.” She replied, “It can be addictive.”
Well, here are some other things I don’t understand…
- How people can look at the same evidence, yet come to different conclusions
- How anyone who loves unconditionally can “fall” out of love
- Why good things happen to bad people
- How anyone could hate Jesus
- How Jesus could love someone like me
- Why anyone would turn down God’s grace and opt for works
But even though I may not understand some things, I’m glad they are true…especially God’s love for this broken, wounded, scarred sinner.
“Like a broken vessel lying scattered on the sand,
Each piece a sad example of a life destroyed by sin.
That’s when Jesus found me, and after all that I’d been through
Paid it all to buy what was thrown away.
It’s amazing, but it’s true.
Don’t ask me why He loved me so. I’ll never understand.
He picked me up and held me close with a gentle nail-scarred hand.
He suffered what was meant for me, and after all I put Him through,
Told His Father I was worth the nails!
It’s amazing! But it’s true!”
– Anthony C. Baker
I may not understand, but I’ll trust the One who does.
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: … “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. – Job 38:1, 4 ESV