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.

Speed Bump, Detour, Dead End, or Catapult?

Life can turn upside down in an instant. An accident, a cancer diagnosis, or _______.  We face obstacles in life. Some are easy, some difficult, and some “impossible.” Our response to these will greatly affect our children’s view of God, because it represents how real our faith in God actually is. Paul said follow me even as I also follow Christ. 

I’m thinking of one Brother whose life is ebbing, drip-by-drip, as a bucket with a leak. He requires constant care and suffers greatly.

Another Sister has been through unimaginable health trauma. Her testimony declares the glory of a righteous and merciful God.

May we embrace difficulties that come our way. May we see them as opportunities for God to grow our faith in Him.  May we consider that the mighty work God most desires is not the joy from flattening the obstacle, but unshakable faith in Him.  

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Steve

Odd Children

I was walking with a group of dads to the next session at a homeschool conference when the dad beside me asked a question. He struggled with his wording. “I have noticed some homeschooling young men, and well, there seems to be something unique about them. Well, ah, well, they just seem a bit odd. I don’t mean to be critical by that, but I don’t want my son to turn out that way. What are your thoughts?” 

I encouraged him there are two main considerations. To raise a son who is a dynamic follower of the Lord Jesus will be considered odd/peculiar by the world because he isn’t like them.

However, there is another sort of odd that I believe he was referring to. These are young men who can’t look you in the eye, are barely communicative, lazy, and unkempt. He agreed. I shared that I felt that was more the norm these days and not dependent on a particular schooling method.

One “odd” is desirable. The other is not. The good news is that we can guide and inspire our sons so that they are great conversationalists, diligent, resourceful, physically fit, and able to make a good living. Are you doing that? When the book of your life is closed, will your son’s praise God for the influence you had in their lives or complain? If a change of course is required, Brother, change course.

Want some help? I encourage you in these three resources: Preparing Sons, Buying a House Debt Free, and Making Great Conversationalists.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”(1 Peter 2:9).

“Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4).

Steve

Thinking Back

Remember your last graduation? For some it was high school and others college. How did you feel? Was there satisfaction of accomplishment or relief to be finished with school? 

I admit. I was tired of the schoolwork. I looked forward to applying what I learned and being free of study. I was in for a surprise, though. In my field, the good ones never quit learning. That is true in life, as well. The good ones, at whatever they do, never quit learning. 

There is a huge secondary benefit to being a lifelong learner. Your children are much more likely to have the same attitude toward learning.

What should we learn? First, we learn of our Lord Jesus and His Word. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). 

Then we seek to learn what we can in order to excel in everything we put our hands to. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).

Are you learning? Are you reading God’s Word everyday? Are you improving in your ministry?  Are you improving in your vocation?

Steve

Love Your Children?

It is easy to say “I love you” to our children, but, demonstrative actions are required to confirm it. 

  • Do you lead them in daily family Bible time? 
  • Do you live out the Lord Jesus?
  • Do you have daily personal Bible time? 
  • Do you worship with the family each week?
  • Do you wear a seatbelt? 
  • Do you refrain from exciting and dangerous activities because you want to be around to provide for and disciple your children? 

Some might wonder what the last two items have to do with loving your children. Love puts the needs of others above their own selfish interests. I am especially grieved when I hear about a dad who lost his life or was seriously injured by something that could have been avoided.

It is easy to buckle a seatbelt. Yet without doing that, it is also easy to be thrown from the car in an accident and be crushed by it. What about the thrill of blazing a trail down the ski slopes and impacting a tree at a high rate of speed? What about the exhilaration of a fast motorcycle ride on a beautiful day in the country only to end in disaster? Sadly, these are real examples.

If we truly love those entrusted to our care, it must change the decisions that we make.

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”  (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Steve

Tick, Tick

We spend our limited resource of time each day. Will it be for things that are in accordance with the will of our Lord Jesus or for our flesh? What we redeem our time for, we will lay at the feet of our Lord one day.

Our bodies are also a limited resource that are being spent day-by-day, week-by-week, and year-by-year. Will we spend our bodies for the Lord or do we misuse them? God did not design our bodies to grow roots into a couch.

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:1-3).

Steve

Faux Beauty

Picture a sixteen-year-old boy daily spending 30 minutes in front of the bathroom mirror fixing his hair and meticulously grooming facial hair. Then he goes to his closet and picks either tight-fitting or minimal clothing. He wants the girls to stare at his muscles and find him attractive. Would you think that a good thing in light of Scripture? Would you encourage a son like that?

Then why is it good for girls? Is it because in the world females are ascribed value when they are attractive and sensuous? Should she see her value based upon something false? The Proverbs 31 woman is praised as an example for women. She is praised because of her virtue, not beauty.

A physical focus leads to pride. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness:..” (Ezekiel 28:17).

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

How are we praising our daughters? What about our wives?

Steve

What Does Freedom Mean?

To some:

  • They can do or say anything they want, and no one can tell them “No.” 
  • They are not a slave to anything or anyone. 
  • _________ (fill in the blank).

It is surprising to me that many take freedom in Christ to mean they can do anything they want that isn’t sin. They have added Jesus to their lives. He’s in their pocket. They have no worries about hell and can now enjoy the good life.

Sadly, that mindset ignores the truth that Jesus purchased us with His blood that He might live in and through us so that we would be a peculiar people, a holy nation. We don’t add Jesus to our lives. wW are to become lost in His. We have been freed from the tyranny of sin, to be bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ.     

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

Steve

Sinking?

“She’s drowning! Quick, someone throw her a ________.” People don’t throw a drowning person a brick but something buoyant. Yet, we often hear of moms who are drowning in all they have to do, but then Dad (or Mom) makes decisions that are like a brick, guaranteeing she will not succeed. There are all sorts of “good reasons” why bad decisions are made, but the end result is Mom goes down with a gasp.

Companies do not succeed when their culture is chaos. Their success takes focus, discipline, and eliminating time wasters. Thriving companies make the hard decisions because they want to continue to exist and produce a profit.

In your home, it begins with consistent bedtime/wakeup time. A schedule that is lived and habitual ensures the important things are done every day, and it frees Mom’s mind from a host of ongoing decisions.

“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Steve

It’s Honorable

One beautiful morning, I observed Bob, a veteran city worker, driving a gigantic, triple-deck, Toro lawn mower. His mission was to mow a small “island” of grass, edged with curbs and many obstacles. If he made one mistake, he’d either damage the city’s mower, one of the obstacles, or possibly injure himself.

If a mower could ballet dance, this one did. It gracefully flowed—grooming every inch, decks raising and lowering while whirling and twirling around obstacles. Bob was a master with an incredible show.

Chris is a sanitation worker. He “flies” along the streets of Leavenworth perched on a small platform that is just big enough for his feet. Before the truck stops, he launches from his perch grabbing bags of trash from the side of the street. In one smooth movement, he flings them into the gaping, hungry mouth of the trash truck.

Fifty years old and working like a fit twenty-year-old, Chris runs, grabs, throws, runs, grabs, throws, and then once again jumps onto the side of the truck. When I complimented him the Saturday morning he manned the brush dump where I was taking a load, he smiled wide and said, “Ya know. That day you saw me, I threw twenty-four ton.” What a guy!

No matter what you do to provide for your family, give it your all. There isn’t a shortage of jobs, just hardworking people.

I’m not aware of Chris or Bob knowing the Lord Jesus, but this verse would apply greatly to each follower of Christ. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Steve

Courageous Love Required

It takes courage to be a good leader and be obedient to the Lord. The Lord’s instructions to Saul were very clear, “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Samuel 15:3). It would have been extremely difficult to carry out this command, but the Lord was clear.

Yet Saul disobeyed and blamed his disobedience on those he was called to lead. “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” (1 Samuel 15:24). Notice a halfhearted confession with no real repentance.

Saul gave a great excuse to say he feared the people  – God didn’t buy it. “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:22-23a).

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). God’s command to fathers is equally clear. Ya think?

Steve