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.

Wanna Be a Hero?

Okay, what did you really think when I encouraged you to have a consistent bedtime/wakeup time every day? Crazy? Extreme? Why would I suggest such a thing?

The answer: Because consistent bedtime/wakeup time is one of the greatest needs in a family. Often Dad is the one who sinks his family’s ship. Mom is desperately trying to get things done, but Dad throws marbles in the cookie batter. 

Once bedtime/wakeup time is set, so many other things will fall into place. Simple. Easy. Seriously, you can do it. Try me on this. It is amazing. Be a hero in your family, not a ____. 

I’ve heard from some dads who have had the courage to step up and do it.  I have a cow horn on my desk I blow for such occasions. Good going, guys. You can show the rest how easy it is. 

Here is what one dad wrote. Is this cool or what? 

“BT/WT has almost become a habit now. I start to get tired at the same time every night and am normally awake before my alarm now.  Thank you. I have noticed a difference in how I well feel and my attitude and thinking throughout the day.” 

When I see guys “step-up” like this, I am SO encouraged. 

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).


Beware of the Fine Print

Does this sound like today or what? “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely” (Jeremiah 6:13).

There is such a craving for the things money can buy and if you don’t have the money, companies stand in line to give you credit.

It begins with going to college so “you” can have the good life even if you don’t have the money for college. Young people broker future wages against the “certain” (?) high wages from their degree, presuming the money will be there to pay off the school debt. School debt is more permanent than marriage. You can divorce and lose a spouse, but even bankruptcy doesn’t get rid of school debt. Few (even believers) seem to take their debt seriously.

Why not trust a loving Father to supply all of your needs? He will supply all He agrees with.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). May we dads be an example of being content and working hard.


Two Voice Confusion

In 2010 we toured Carlsbad Caverns and in 2011 Yellowstone park. They are both exquisite examples of God’s beautiful creation. Sadly, God was not given any credit – not even the slightest during various guide presentations or on placards. 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

Was our children’s faith weakened by evolution being given credit instead of Jesus Christ, the God of creation? No, not at all. For almost every day of their lives we have been in the Word together. It’s a special time of reading and sharing as a family. In addition, they have seen God’s Word authenticated in lives and know it to be true.

Sadly, now imagine the confusion so many (most?) children face who are merely taken to church on Sunday and then sit in front of a TV every day of the week? “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).


Money is Cheap

Many have it upside down today. When they think of how much something costs, they think in terms of dollars. In reality, they should be thinking in terms of time. We can always get more money, but we only have a limited amount of time. That scarcity makes time invaluable.  

Most have heard the expression, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance.” They usually mean that they are spending their savings themselves, and there won’t be much left for the children after their death. 

Here’s another perspective for you to consider. When Dad or Mom don’t invest time in the lives of their children, might they be spending their children’s most crucial inheritance? How prepared your children are for life, their character, their walk with Christ— isn’t that far more important than any amount of dollars they might inherit?   

Child-raising years are priceless, and there are no second chances. No amount of money can replace what is lost in the child’s life. You that are heavily investing in your children’s lives are making the best choice. That investment is an inheritance they will benefit from for all eternity. 

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).


Best Buffoon?

I’m sure you have noticed the trend in ads over the years that when someone is needed to play the part of the uninformed or ignorant, they will use a man, or it will be the dad.  They do not need to worry about backlash because it appears to be the politically safe choice these days. My question for you is: Do you think we men have earned this characterization?

If we are wholeheartedly seeking our Lord Jesus and following Him, we may appear peculiar, but we will always be making the wise choices. “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).

“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised” (1 Corinthians 4:10).


Cruise Control

Do you use cruise control on your car? I like it. It makes driving easier and more pleasurable. Plus I don’t have to be concerned about drifting over the speed limit and the “blue light” consequences.

Are you using “cruise control” each day? Did you know that good habits are like cruise control for our days? The right habits enable you to accomplish the right things – easily, without stress, and enjoyably.

Make a list of the good habits you have.  If consistent bedtime/wakeup time (I mean the same every day) isn’t at the top of the list, I encourage you to begin that one today. It will enable you to do things you never before thought possible. Teri has been encouraging moms to have the right habits, but we have “observed” that Dad is often the cause of shipwrecking Mom’s attempts at consistency. I believe no dad wants that for his home. Is that true for you?

“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23).



Recently, one of the family attended a funeral visitation. During that time they had opportunity to speak with the grieving widow. She said she was doing quite well, but went on to say, “The hardest thing through all of this is: who is going to love me?” She said that she knew God and her children loved her, but what would take the place of her husband’s love?

I admire that man who so obviously loved his wife. What a heartbreaking reminder his widow’s words are of the need for a wife to be loved. How many wives don’t feel loved even though they have a husband? May we be the men that God has called us to be in loving our wives so that they feel it.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).


Look Out Below!

We just returned from Colorado and spent a lot of time hiking. I love being with my family, enjoying God’s beautiful creation and challenging exertion. The view from the trails greatly varied, but one thing was sure, you’d better keep an eye out for where you placed your feet if you didn’t want to fall.

It seems like Scripture shares a similar admonition. “Choose where you are going.” Every decision we make has a result. As you lead your family, what you do everyday will have an affect.

While hiking I was thinking about a session we give called “Building a Vision.” Oh, Dads, I plead with you to have a “vision” of where God is calling your family. To know and follow it will save you so much grief.

I am aware of some dads who have major turmoil in their family, and I have to wonder if things couldn’t be improved if they had a “vision” and then lived it. Sure it can involve some tough decisions, but life in Christ takes courage.

The best way to avoid a crisis is by knowing where God is directing, then go for it, one step-at-a-time, day-after-day. What’s stopping you?

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7).


Let’s Not Discuss Them

Right now, our family is enjoying time away in a remote area of Colorado. Yesterday, while I was waiting in the van for Teri to grab some groceries, an elderly, hunched-over woman walked toward the store, seeming to be in pain. Later I saw her headed out with her bag of groceries. As she passed by, I asked her if she had driven or walked to the store. She said she walked. I asked if we could give her a ride home once my wife finished shopping.

Considering my offer, she leaned against the car beside me. After a few minutes of dialog, she was comfortable accepting my offer and sat in our minivan’s backseat with the door open.

She and her husband moved out from Michigan twenty-six years ago, and her husband died four years previously. I asked if she had considered moving back to Michigan. She said their friends were all gone or moved. I asked about her children. She paused, looked deeply grieved, and was finally able to say, “Let’s just not discuss them.”

Only the Lord knows the full story. Likely, there were contributing factors by both the parents and children. From our experience with the elderly, the thing that matters most to them at that stage in life is their children. What a heartbreak when the relationship is a painful one.

Dads, I plead with you to make your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ your absolute first priority, next with your wife, and then with your children. Your children are eternal fruit. Don’t you want to spend eternity with them and have a good relationship with them when you are old?

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3).

I Can or I Can’t?

How often have you thought, “I can’t do this?” Maybe during struggles in parenting, or marriage, or serving Christ these doubts arise. Jeremiah told God he couldn’t do what God was asking, but God had a different idea. “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (Jeremiah 1:6-7).

If we look at ourselves, yes, of course, we are unable, but we need to look at an all sufficient, all powerful God. It is His grace, His strength and His knowledge that enables.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).