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?


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).


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?


Dangerous or Useful?

Last week when you read my Seriously article about TV and movies, you might have thought, “Why didn’t he say something about the computer?” I must limit my word count, hence a follow-on article.

A chainsaw is a powerful tool, but it can also be very dangerous to an unskilled and unprotected user.  A computer is also a powerful tool, but there is great danger to the soul if it is used carelessly. It seems like many (most?) use the computer similarly to the TV – as an entertainment device. When viewed as such, the serious danger it poses seems minimized. No one considers an entertainment toy as dangerous. Right? No, wrong. It is terribly dangerous.

Therefore, safeguards are required  not just a good idea, but required. No one is above temptation. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Many dads haven’t realized the danger of the computer for himself or his children and discovered too late the damage done whether in addiction to empty games or to serious immorality.

Our family’s computers are not used for play or entertainment. They are tools for work and efficiency. We also use Google Safe Search and Accountable2You and encourage anyone we can to do the same. Better to be safe than sorry!  (The Accountable2You is an affiliate link and blesses the Titus2 ministry.)


Mother’s Day Thoughts

This is written by my amazing husband of 40+ years, Steve. He requested to share this month. Be blessed!

The ups and downs of being a mom are incredible. Admit it, did you have any idea how tough being a good mom was going to be? I remember hearing Teri, sleep deprived and discouraged in the days after our first child’s birth, say, “Mom never told me it would be like this.” Maybe you have felt like that.

Twenty years later, when our eighth child was born, Teri had a good idea what motherhood meant. She still had struggles, and she knew a lot of work was ahead. She, however, had the comparison of the joy set before her. She had learned how critical a daily walk with the Lord Jesus was to her calling.

I wonder if it isn’t even more difficult these days for moms to want to invest in their children’s lives when children are seen as having little value compared to 40 years ago when we started having children. Sadly our society has turned it upside down. To the world, the huge investment of motherhood is seen as nothing compared to the value of Mom earning a paycheck.

Wouldn’t you agree that for most a woman’s worth is evaluated by the size of her paycheck? We’ve seen that sort of trade before when Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of soup. Paychecks hardly last from one to the next, but children are eternal. Think about what you are pouring your life out for.

As I write this I am looking out my window on a beautiful spring day watching two of my daughters in the backyard with nine of my little grandchildren—all of them joyfully singing praises to the Lord. I want to put that picture in your mind as you continue to pour out your life into your children’s lives. All those sleepless nights, dirty diapers, runny noses, spilled milk, and hours upon hours of teaching result in servants fit for the Master’s use.

Truly there is no tougher or more rewarding job than being a mom. If God calls, He equips. You might ask, “But if I’m equipped, then why is it so difficult?” Are you abiding in the Lord Jesus? He doesn’t ask you to do this on your own. Your spiritual energy, your stamina, your peace, and your hope are all in Christ.

“… He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). I saw days when Teri grew weary of her well-doing in motherhood. She needed to be encouraged not to faint but to look forward to the season of reaping. May I be the one to encourage you moms who are reading this Mom’s Corner that your children are worth every sacrifice you make. I want you to look out your window in the future and see your little grandchildren singing and praising the Lord! Remember Christ’s own words, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me” (Matthew 18:5).

Steve Maxwell

Posted in: Mom's Corner