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.

More On The Secret

I shared the article “Shared Secret” on the Titus2.com blog. I received this comment and the following is my response. I felt it would be helpful for Seriously dads as well.

Blog comment: I concur with the idea that entertainment detracts from more useful application of one’s energy, especially since time can so easily slip away when you’re distracted. My question for you is whether there comes a point in time when one is too focused on serious pursuits, i.e. being a “work-a-holic”? How do you balance focused learning or on-task time with relaxing fellowship time? Erica

Hi Erica, First, I’m not sure it follows that the opposite of loving entertainment is being a work-a-holic. It seems like there might be a subtle inference of that in your question. That aside, maybe there are some who became too focused on serious pursuits. However, our personal experience and observations of others is that the natural pull/tendency is toward wasting time, particularly through various forms of entertainment, versus too many serious pursuits.

For believers, Scripture sets an example of working six days and resting one. Thankfully, most don’t have to work six days to live, but Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 10:23 is important: ”All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” Given available time, how can it be used to edify (build up) ourselves or others?

To spend time beneficially has become a guiding principle for our family. Serving, loving and learning are foundational verbs in making time edifying. The following verse keeps everything in balance because it is easy for something to get out-of-balance, whether it be learning, resting, and even working. “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). 

That verse means that our time is to be completely surrendered to our Lord Jesus. He may for a season shift time so that it is heavy in one area, maybe serving, or another time in loving someone in need. But if our time is under His direction, then we can have confidence the result will be good. ”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).

Steve

Posted in: General

Your Turn

  • Adam: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.
  • Noah: Make thee an ark of gopher wood.
  • Abraham: Thou shalt keep my covenant. Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,… and offer him.
  • Lot: Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 
  • Joshua: Arise, go over this Jordan,… Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.
  • Samson: For the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb
  • Jonah: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it
  • John the Baptist: Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
  • Paul: Prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.

Your turn, Dad: …..What is God’s direction for you? Will you obey?

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8).

Shared Secret

Many ask how I taught my children to do so many things. Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family is the long version of this.

Teach your children that they can do all things through Christ which strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). If God calls us to do something, He will enable us. If we don’t know how to do it, we have to first learn how (the easy part), and then we do it. 

Parents set the example by being sponges to learn (and enjoy work). 

Learn:

  • of the Lord Jesus, first and foremost
  • technical/vocational skills (make your time worth something)
  • relationship skills
  • communication skills, one-on-one and speaking to groups. 

(Side note: if you aren’t a self learner, learning will cost you.)

Now comes both bad news and inversely the key. The enemy of learning is entertainment. If you and/or your children love entertainment, sorry. Ignore all of the above. Your children might as well be wearing a 100 pound backpack through life. Few want to learn and work when they can play.

“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

Alternate Choices

I grew up in the typical worldly home, and that was topped off by my parents getting a divorce. I was the average lazy teenager. I spent my time in the most fun way. That was my life until after the Air Force, two years of college, and one year of marriage. Then the Lord saved Teri and me. Our world changed. Hallelujah!

Teri and I surrendered our lives and home to the Lord and grew in Him. Life was refreshing. Raising our children, we made some nontraditional choices in how we, as a family and as individuals, spent our time. We felt Scripture taught us that our time was precious and to be used in edifying ways.

There was some risk with these decisions as we raised our children in our understanding of the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It was possible as adults they might have said they wished for sports and lots of entertainment like other kids.

Imagine my joy this week to hear one of my sons, almost 30 years old, say, “I’m glad that I am not a sports fan. I would much rather spend time with my wife and children. I also doubt I would be where I am at with my business.”

Dad’s, I encourage you to pursue the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

“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

Have You Told Them?

Are you saved? Do you know that you know (1 John 2:3) you are saved and will spend eternity with the Lord Jesus? I hope so. Does your family know you are a child of the King? Is it assumed, or have you told them your salvation experience? When is the last time you told them in detail about when you were saved? Do they know your account so well they can tell it back to you? Okay, why should that matter?

Next week we celebrate Christmas. What makes Christmas worthy of great celebration is that God sent His Son Jesus, God in Man, to this world to redeem us. What makes it real is when Dad and Mom tell the children how Jesus Christ changed them—what their life was before Christ and following. May there be no doubt in the children’s minds that Jesus Christ is real and changes lives.    

“We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done” (Psalms 78:4).

Steve

Lying

I’ve yet to meet anyone who likes being lied to. How do you feel about being lied to? What if someone close to you lied to you? Do you ever lie? Do you ever lie to someone close to you?

If you answered “yes” to lying, shouldn’t that sin be dealt with immediately?

Let’s assume your answer was “no,” you don’t lie. Let me ask you another question. Do you ever lie to yourself? No? When was the last time you said you were going to do something but didn’t do it? Even if you didn’t tell anyone else, wasn’t that a commitment to yourself?

If we excuse ourselves from keeping commitments, then it will be easy to excuse ourselves (lie) to others too. May we be men of integrity.

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:9,10).

Steve

My Favorite Question

For those who have worked for someone who consistently made poor decisions, you understand how demoralizing poor decisions can be for those who must live with the results. Frankly, quite often Teri and my hearts go out to wives whose husbands would resemble that employer just mentioned. At least with a job, you can look for another one, but that isn’t God’s plan for marriage. (God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16)

Listening to dads share decisions they made and the corresponding fruit they are harvesting often prompts me to ask my favorite question. “So Brother, how’s that working for you?”

It is good to step back and consider the fruit resulting from a previous decision and perhaps re-evaluate. “But wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:35). Over time the fruit will prove the decision.

Evaluate those situations. How did you get there? What might have been your motives in making the decision? Were you just trying to “make the pain go away” or earnestly seeking the Lord’s will, no matter what the personal cost?

“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:21).

Steve

First Car

I am confident most of you remember the first car you owned. I don’t even have a photo of mine, but I can see that 57 Chevy clearly in my mind. Back then, I knew nothing about cars, but for some crazy reason, I got it into my head to change out the 6 cylinder automatic for a V8 and 4 speed. It was a great learning opportunity as I poured time, energy, and money into that car.

Having been junked, crushed, melted, and the metal reused, that car is likely a washing machine or something else today. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19). It is so easy to have our hearts pulled to the things that are not eternal.

The Lord has a command for us. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20). Most of our work is simply wood, hay, and stubble, but our wives and children are eternal investments worthy of pouring everything we have into.

I’m so blessed to be able to encourage dads who are serious and committed to their families. I am sure your wife is thankful for a husband like you. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Steve

Purpose

We each have a need for purpose, which is no surprise since God created us that way. What is your experience with people who know that they know their purpose in Christ and live it? Don’t their days have meaning and direction? Aren’t they energized by it?

If the Lord’s will isn’t our purpose in life, mankind turns to the world. Therefore, may we live and breathe to do the Lord’s will and bring Him glory. “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).

The Lord bought us with the most precious substance, His blood. We are His. He is to be the focus and very purpose of our lives. “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). Jesus embodies this with the Father.

To focus on His will gives us meaning and direction. He is our leader and the full Authority directing us (BTW, we are commanded to live under the laws of the land). He will use our every minute according to His good and perfect will if we will let Him (read choose it).

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Steve

What Is It? 

  • Young adults are lost without it. 
  • Adults may have it, but often it is misguided. 
  • It seems rare to find the elderly with it. 
  • Having it gives hope. 
  • Money often gives it.
  • Sports often give it. 
  • Marriage proposes it. 
  • Death kills it. 
  • Jesus Christ embodies it.

What’s yours? Give it some thought until next week. 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Steve