All posts by Steve Maxwell

Steve, husband to Teri for over 40 years, dad to eight and grandpa to eight, desires to encourage homeschool dads to spend time in the Word, disciple their children in the ways of the Lord, use their time wisely, and be men of God. His five home-school graduate sons are now wage-earning adults, and three have purchased their homes debt-free before marriage. He has been writing e-mails for Christian dads since 1990. Steve is co-author of of a number of books, including Managers of Their Homes, and Keeping Our Children’s Hearts. Steve also wrote Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son, Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family and Redeeming the Time. Find out more information on Steve Maxwell and his books.

Here’s the More Difficult One

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

We read in 2:9 that “the tree of life was in the midst,” likely center of the Garden. Was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil close to the tree of life, which was in the midst? I believe so, because of how easily Eve observed it when she was being tempted. Very likely Adam and Eve would see the forbidden tree on a regular basis. The fruit was, “… good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise…” (Genesis 3:6). It was very tempting indeed.

Did God put it there to tempt them for evil? Not according to James 1:13. Then why was the tree there? What benefit was it? Could it be it was for man to exercise his free will on a regular basis and choose good? The more “he” exercised his will in right choices, the stronger and more reliable in self-control “he” would have been and the better prepared for a life of self-discipline for following his God. That’s a lot to think about.

Steve

Here’s the First

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it”(Genesis 2:15).

God is always good, always. God gave Adam His best, and He gave Adam purpose. Adam was not ever to be bored because he had his work cut out for him. If you want to see a sparkle in your children’s eyes and a spring in their step, give them something worthwhile to work toward. Get them used to the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment.

Observe the youth and young adults of today. Would you characterize them as having purpose and good work ethics? God gave Adam purpose and a reason to work right away in a perfect environment. He was to work/serve (dress) and manage (keep) the garden. Without meaningful work, life is dull and boring, and children (and adults) will turn to the pursuit (and addiction) of entertainment and pleasure.

If you want to see a possible “result” of boredom, laziness, and lack of godly purpose, read and meditate on Ezekiel 16:49.

Second one next week…

Steve

What Were They?

What were two essentials that God gave Adam in the garden that every parent would do well to help his children with? Give it a week to think about. I’m not asking you to send me your ideas. Just think about it. Hint: I’m not referring to the obvious such as food, clothing, and a place to live.

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).

Garbage Disposal

Our’s recently quit working, and it was disappointing considering it was only 7 years old. It’s an essential “appliance” in our home. Of course we put most plate “gleanings” directly in the trash, but there are always smaller things, especially from salads that we prefer to wash off the plate into the sink. So when it “died,” replacing it went to the top of my prioritized to do list because it was both urgent and important.

I’m guessing that most homes today have a garbage disposal. Did you know that Scripture highly endorses the concept? “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). James tells us to lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness. The concept is to get rid of the garbage.

I’m amazed at what “tries” to come into our homes, whether by the mail or electronic means. It might be as innocent as through clothing catalogs. Most are fine, but on occasion–garbage. When it is spotted, into the garbage it goes.

We use Internet filters on our phones. There is a reason. Pity the poor male 3ho felt he was immune to that sort of thing only to be held hostage by it later. My guess is that Satan’s best friend is a man’s pride. “I’ll never fall for that sort of thing,” he proudly says to himself.

Our world has so much garbage, and it can easily flow into our homes and hearts. Each home needs one or more garbage disposals. Will we value and protect our family’s purity, or succumb to the flood of garbage?

Steve

Not Good Enough?

Do you ever compare yourself with others? It’s hard not to. The other guy:

• may seem more spiritual, 

• may make more money, 

• may be in better shape, 

• may have better behaved children. 

Oh, Friend, may I encourage you to be at peace? If you are trusting in Jesus’ shed blood for your salvation, rest in the Lord and in His grace. Be at peace with yourself, and that will greatly affect your relationship with your wife, your children, and others. We all fall short, but may we cling to the One Who can do what is needed in our lives? (BTW, if it is a matter of sin, then we forsake that sin. If you need help, ask a brother for help, but forsake the sin.)

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). 

Will Our Children Read?

I spoke to a dad recently who used to give guest lectures to junior and senior public high school classes on a financial topic. He always began with the question, “Does anyone know what ten percent of $50 is?” After many lectures, he said he never had a student correctly answer the question. We would all agree that math is important for life.

What about reading? I’m confident you want your children to be able to read well. Reading is the basis for much learning. As believers we know it is critical for our children to understand the Bible and from it, life in Christ. Do we ever think about how important our example in this area of reading would be to our children? If our children never see us reading, will reading be important to them?

I’ve received emails from moms, in response to a book recommendation I’ve made that might help their situation, who say their husbands don’t read. Consider this statement from an unknown originator, “The person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read.”

If reading is important for our children, is it important for us parents? In this age of video everything, do we read? Do we read the Bible, and do we read other beneficial books? If we don’t read, are we any better off than someone who can’t read?

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words” (Ephesians 3:3).

When God

When God commands us to do something, He will enable us to fulfill the command. The omniscient One of the universe knows what we are capable of doing. He certainly wouldn’t command us to do something we couldn’t do.

If He commands us to do things beyond our own strength, knowledge, or ability, we can be sure He will provide what is lacking. When God commands, we can be sure He will enable.

The first and most important step is that we are willing to obey. There is joy and satisfaction in obeying. What has God called you to? Have you responded obediently?

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee” (Exodus 31:1-6).

Three TImes

Three times God clearly told mankind to be fruitful and multiply. He has never taken that command back.   

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1). 

“And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein” (Genesis 9:7). 

No wonder there is such an attack on the innocent, defenseless unborn.

No One

I have observed the outcome of decisions I have been very curious about. Why did someone do that? As I was out driving yesterday, there was a five-mile backup on the southbound interstate because one lane was closed. There was no sign of a work crew or any work being done, but there must have been a good reason (in someone’s mind) to put out the cones and not pick them up.

Other things that make me curious are: the way a house is situated on a piece of property, a “feature” on a car’s dash, or the navigation scheme on a website. I have come to believe that no one makes a dumb decision on purpose. In fact, I am confident that everyone does the best he can with the information he has at the time and with his reasoning abilities.

Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross for payment of their sin debt and who are in fellowship with Him have incredible advantage over those who are lost. Think about it. We can seek His direction for every aspect of our lives and spare our families hardships that can be avoided.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Open Garage Doors

During the summer Teri and I go for our walk soon after sunrise. It is a delightful time of fellowship and exercise. One thing we regularly notice is a house where a garage door has been accidentally left open. While Dad, the protector was sleeping, his family and his house were vulnerable.

What doors have you left open or unlocked? Dads, how vigilant are we?

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).