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.

Ugly as Sin

Have you ever seen lambs frolicking in a field? They are the picture of innocence. Now picture a lamb that is being used to pay for your sin, because you broke God’s law. The knife is applied to his neck, and his blood is poured out because of your sin.  

In my Bible reading I just read of the Levitical animal sacrifices again. Had I lived in Old Testament times, it would have been difficult for me to have my sin cause the death of an innocent lamb in such a bloody, graphic way. Yet, I would have been grateful there was a remedy for my sin.

Sin damages relationships, is ugly, and costly. Our offenses separate us from those we love, but worst of all they separate us from God. May we confess, repent and ask forgiveness. Our sin nailed Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, to the cross. Oh my brothers, may we not trifle with sin. 

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). 

Cost of Love

When was the last time you woke up, thought about the day ahead of you, and hoped to show your love for your wife by having an opportunity to die for her? Not recently? Me neither. But how did it go when there was an opportunity to show love in lesser sacrifices (difficult to call them sacrifices) such as patiently listening, being gentle and kind, forgoing a convenience, or doing some extra work to help her?  “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:25, 28). 

Being committed to following Jesus is a good foundation for being a great husband. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). What opportunities and need we have for grace, obedience, and growth.

Protecting Your Family

A good dad is concerned with protecting his family since God has assigned him to be head. As head, Dad is to be aware of what might threaten their physical safety. Ephesians 5:25 calls Dad to even lay down his life for his family as Christ did for His bride the church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” 

I’ve known a lot of dads who are focused and concerned with their family’s physical security. However, there are dangers to the family that are of greater importance and often go unnoticed. Are you careful and on guard with what is coming into the minds and souls of your family? Media abounds, and people have their favorites, justifying why it is good for them. However, I’m confident, most are similar to “dumpster diving.” 

I believe if you embrace the truth of 1 Corinthians 10:23, you will not only enjoy safety, but your family will grow in the Lord Jesus Christ. If it edifies, embrace it. If it doesn’t, pitch it. 

“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). 

Do you Want a Stable Christian Life?

Are you a professing Christian whose life tends to “fall apart” (meaning no stability) when the storms of life come? Jesus made it clear what you need. 

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock” (Luke 6:46-48).

Note three very key aspects. First, he came. We came to Jesus as repenting hell-bound sinners needing a sin-atoning Savior. That is like a stage 4 cancer patient (a living dead man) who sought a cure and found it. There is no question in his mind that he was cured. For us, no question, either. Jesus is my Savior, and I DAILY depend on Him. 

Next, he hears His Word. Not just simply heard, but hears it (ongoing). Are you reading the Bible every day and hearing biblical preaching? 

Finally he obeys it. The Word must be daily applied to our lives. Knowing but not living it, does no good in stabilizing our lives. Brothers, we are to live it. Then, we can rest assured. We will have stability because we have a sure foundation. 

Problems

My heart aches hearing of the problems some are facing. Is God still good? Yes, beyond measure! Has He forgotten His children who are struggling? No.

Are you complaining and fearful or praising and joyful? Brothers your wife, your children need you to be strong. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

As you have needs, lay them before your Lord. “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).

Keep a journal and capture all your needs and God’s answers for future encouragement. God is always good, always.

Aiming Low

Would you use a surgeon who judged his surgeries successful by whether the patient lived or not? Would you fly on an airline where the mechanic’s performance ratings were merely based on the number of planes that didn’t crash? Would you eat at a restaurant where the cook received a pay bonus as long as no one died from his cooking? 

Any thinking person who valued life would be abhorred with the above and rightfully so. Yet, might Christian parents be guilty of something far worse? We all agree that physical life is valuable, but it pales compared to eternal life. Then, might we be justified for a horrific response when Christian parents feel they are successful as long as their children have simply “prayed a little prayer” at some time growing up? 

Sadly, some are willing to accept a child’s profession, without confirming evidence of spiritual fruit over time. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Similar to false prophets who look good on the outside, Jesus tells us how to know if someone is saved. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).   

Abominable Prayers

I spoke with someone a while back about their walk with the Lord. They described it as fantastic. I asked how often they read their Bible. They said they didn’t, but they loved God so much and prayed to Him all the time. 

People often seem to be more willing to pray than to read their Bibles. Prayer becomes a spoken, laundry-list of requests or maybe even commands for God to fulfill. “Snap, snap. I want this. I want that.” Reading Scripture is much different. As we read God’s Word,  God speaks to our hearts. We need to hear God’s commands, encouragement, promises and rebuke. 

I heard a verse in church recently that would have been appropriate to have shared with this person. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). The Hebrew word for “law” in the verse is Torah. The prayer of a person who doesn’t want to hear God’s Word, is an abomination, something wicked and disgusting. 

Are you in His Word every day? Do you love it? Brothers, do you do your best to live it?

Marshmallow Men

A marshmallow man is soft, squishy, and not very tough. I think that might describe me, and I’m guessing a lot (the majority?) of Christians. Of course, we don’t want to think of ourselves that way. 

I recently read about the abuse Paul suffered at the hands of those who hated Jesus Christ. That brother in Christ suffered beating, upon humiliating beating, likely providing great entertainment for spectators to enjoy. Reading that he received, “stripes above measure” (countless, excessively, beyond number), my cringing reaction showed my softness.  

“… in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). 

How deep is the passion of our hearts to share Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world? People are headed for eternity in hell all around us, and most consider themselves to be a “good person.” Are we telling them hell will be filled with “good people”? Everyone needs the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Feels So Good

Admit it. We like it when others notice something and then compliment us. It might be concerning something we own, our knowledge, our skills, or our family. How the flesh loves to hear praise from others. 

Pride is such an ugly thing. What makes it worse is that we are stealing from God. Whatever we have or accomplish, it is God Who enables us or gives to us. What do we have that God hasn’t given and we deserve credit for? Nothing. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

 Hezekiah had a pretty bad case of pride (2 Chronicles 32:24-32). When the Babylonians heard he was sick, they sent emissaries. When they arrived Hezekiah had recovered, and he gave them the royal tour of all “his” glory (everything the Babylonians will eventually take as their loot). Listen to Isaiah: “Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them” (Isaiah 39:4). 

Isaiah then rebuked Hezekiah and told him that not only all his treasures but his sons also would be carried away to Babylon. 

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished” (Proverbs 16:5). 

Two Leavenworth Escapees

It was a work detail tasked with clearing out tall grass and weeds. While loading them up after completion of the work, two escaped. They have been on the run in Leavenworth trying to avoid capture. It has been the talk of the town. What is funny is that people are getting quite a kick out of it. We haven’t had anything this interesting here for quite a while.  

If you have ever been held captive, you understand how freedom is precious. Today, men are easily enslaved by the sin of their choice — usually what they view or consume. At some point, the pleasure is exchanged for guilt and a longing to be free. 

In addition to Dad, might you have a teenager in bondage? My guess is a lot more than the dads know. Watch for changes in character, and secretiveness. Does he happily allow you access to his phone and want accountability?

Know the “health” of your flock, and dad if you are enslaved, get free no matter what the cost. See a brother for help. Call someone. 

Those two, free, happy “Goats for Hire” who escaped are still on the loose. It will be a sad day once they are caught and locked up.  

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14). 

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