Category Archives: Seriously

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

Which Group?

Every decision made is based upon value. If you purchase something, having it was worth more than keeping the money. When you eat something, the taste or nutrition is more important than what it cost in money and calories. When time is spent on something, it was of greater value than what you didn’t spend your time on.

For many, TV is an easy choice because they consider it harmless, pleasurable entertainment. Have you wondered if you can ever have enough pleasure? With food, God designed the body to signal that it has had enough. (I know this can be ignored, but God gave it for a purpose.) However, there are no signals sent to limit pleasure so our fleshly appetites crave/covet more and more.

As parents feed their appetites for the pleasure of being entertained, it creates and fuels it in their children. Where is your value – on your pleasure or your children’s future?

“And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection” (Luke 8:14).

For some the thoughts I shared against TV and movies are compelling. They get it, and their life in Christ benefits going forward. For others, they aren’t moved. What is the difference between the groups? Value!

A Successful Hook

Each Father is the spiritual head of his home and is accountable to God to raise his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord Jesus (Eph. 6:4). Part of that means teaching the children to totally avoid some things (although that does involve self-control) and to have self-control in others. For example, I want my children to learn self-control in their eating, exercise, and time usage.

However it is my desire that they stay away from things that create lust (1 Pet 2:11), coveting (Eph 5:5), and loving the world (1 John 2:15). Just how important is it to you that your children NOT develop appetites for those things? (Hoping doesn’t count. It will take action.)

Most consider TV’s purpose is to entertain, but that is not true. TV’s purpose is to sell the things of the world, always has been, always will be. Advertising is what funds TV, and the hook is baited with entertainment.

Why would I want my children to lust, covet, and love the world? TV’s unstated purpose is to create those appetites! Successful advertising does just that!

Having experienced the negative appetites TV had to offer, I wanted my children to totally avoid TV, for it to be forbidden fruit. I had no desire to use TV to teach them self-control. There were plenty of other places to teach self-control where the consequences weren’t so serious.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

Disdaining Danger or Embracing it?

We are evaluating forbidden fruit versus things to teach self-control.

In the garden, when God wanted man to learn to obey Him and choose right from wrong, He used the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by forbidding it.

God didn’t use the trees’s fruit to teach moderation/self-control. He didn’t say:

  • Eat only the good fruit.
  • Eat only a little fruit.
  • Eat it on Sundays.

God said, don’t eat!  Eating from that tree in the Garden meant death.

I want my children to completely avoid directly sinful things and I expect that is your desire for your children as well. However, in addition, I want my children to have a disdain for things that easily lead to destructive things. Are you still with me? 

“And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house” (Judges 8:27). The ephod that Gideon made likely wasn’t directly sinful at first. However, it soon became a snare to Gideon and his family.

The less like the world your family is, the more dangerous TV and movies are in pulling their hearts to the world.

What about you? What are your goals for your children?

Steve

Forbid or Not? Part 1

I appreciated the question a dad asked following a recent Seriously since it might be one others have as well. His question was: Should TV/movies be a forbidden fruit to be completely avoided or would it be better used to teach self-control (moderation)?

When someone uses the term “forbidden fruit” I take it they are implying that by making something forbidden, we are actually enticing someone to want it. A further implication is that by not forbidding it completely, it isn’t as desirable (as when forbidden) and it can be avoided more easily.

Let’s consider this concept. The Garden God created in Genesis was perfect. Agreed? God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the midst, and He said, “Thou shalt not eat of it.” It was forbidden fruit if you will.

God didn’t leave it un-forbidden to make it less appealing. He knew it was appealing, and for His children’s protection gave them a set boundary with no middle ground, no balance, no moderation. Simply, “No!”

“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).

Steve

Are You Slack?

Discipling children in the Lord, the Savior of their souls, is THE critical aspect in raising children. Dad owns this responsibility before the Lord. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Family Bible time every day is critical to nurturing a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the feeding of a soul, producing fertile ground for the Spirit of God to work. If Dad is slack in his responsibilities to gain ground in the hearts of his children, you can be sure the enemy will use it to his advantage. 

“And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?”(Joshua 18:3). 

The reason I warned a couple weeks ago about TV and movies is they are a sure way to give ground in the hearts of your family to the enemy. When given a choice, a child will likely choose the world’s entertainment over God’s Word. Why not eliminate the world’s entertainment and draw their hearts to God’s Word?

Steve