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.

Disgusting

Ever happen at your home? A slow bathroom drain needs “attention” if opening the faucet more, the sink begins to fill with the stopper fully open. Not good.

To fix the problem, I remove the stopper gaining access to the drain from above and disconnect the trap below the sink. I clean them both with whatever tools will do the job, pulling out hair coated in disgusting toothpaste and then reassemble. Finally I fill the sink with water, release the stopper, check the flow, and also look for leaks underneath.

How’s your prayer life, Brother? First, are you praying? Is God answering? Might you feel like your prayers are not flowing?

If so, ask the Lord to examine your heart. What sort of blockage could be hindering the flow? “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18). What disgusting things have you allowed in your heart? What sort of “eye-candy” are you feasting on? What are you coveting? “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). 

My Brother, is your heart clean?

Steve

Your Thoughts?

Our world is changing fast. The challenges I faced 30 years ago are being dwarfed by what you are facing today. Abominable evils are always within arm’s reach. Our world doesn’t know truth as evidenced by what God says is good, being called bad by the world and what God says is bad being called right.

The constant pressure against a family that desires to live for the Lord is staggering. Even within the local church, the spectrum of what is permissible is vast. As a result, families who were strong ten years ago are now crumbling.

How is your family fairing? What are the top three problems you are struggling with? What do you see other families facing?

Feel no pressure to respond, but it would be a blessing if you would share your thoughts on these. Either email or respond here.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

Steve

Communist Became a Believer

We listened to a national missionary from an eastern block country share his testimony Sunday night. He told how the communists and socialists took over their country one step at a time. They imposed gun control and then confiscated all weapons. They took over the health care system and every educational institution.  God was removed in every way from their society, and then it rippled into the homes.  The result—a broken people with crushed families having no hope.  

Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? Brothers, what value do you place on your freedom to educate and disciple your children? In actuality, how dedicated are you to raising your children to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Where is the evidence that you are all in for the Lord Jesus and your children? A possible good initial indicator of how committed you are to discipling your children would be to add up how many days in the last months you missed leading daily family Bible time?  (0 would be great.) Next consider your life’s example, your appetites, and how you spend your time are being impressed on your children’s hearts. 

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).

Bad Example

My heart’s desire is for my life to be an example/encouragement to my family and brothers in the Lord. However, there has been one area I don’t want you to follow my lead. 

I have Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Sadly though, many of you likely do as well but you don’t know it. I had it for years, before there were symptoms and diagnosed. I relied on my exercise to maintain my health primarily, managing my weight secondarily while ignoring cholesterol. 

Might I with great love encourage you to get your cholesterol checked (can be done inexpensively through labs without a doctor visit) and make sure it stays well in the green zone by what you eat and exercise? Also, I understand that having your waist measurement less than half of your height is another important factor. Even if you are at peace with where you will spend eternity, your family needs you alive and well.  

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). 

Are You The Problem?

Homeschooling is alive, well, and quite popular. Homeschoolers I have spoken with over the years want a better outcome for their children than other educational options offer. Not only is a better education desired (and generally achieved), but children, who upon completing their education, still have a strong faith in the Lord Jesus. 

Moms are usually the ones doing the majority of the planning, teaching, and grading, day-in-and-day-out. However, are you aware that you can be the one who effectively shipwrecks her investment with little effort on your part?  

Dads with poor and unsupportive attitudes can torpedo their children’s future. “How?” you ask. It is because Dad’s heart is generally impressed on the children’s hearts. What Dad loves, the children love, and what he dislikes, the children dislike. If Dad doesn’t care how well the children do in school, they aren’t going to apply themselves and will make it difficult for Mom. If Dad doesn’t have a heart for the Lord Jesus and isn’t serious about obeying Him, the children will be drawn to the world just like their father (you). 

I plead with you. Your income job is wood, hay, and stubble. Leading and discipling your family in the Lord Jesus is “gold, silver, and precious stones.” So many dads have it backwards. Brother, be dedicated to the work God has called you to do. 

“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood have, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

Politics to Jesus

I like pumping gas and going to the grocery store because I love meeting people. For example, last week while getting gas I greeted the person pumping next to our car. For some reason, she started railing about politics. I soon shared how thankful I was that regardless of the political climate, the Lord Jesus was ultimately in control, and I had total peace with that. Summarizing here, I encouraged her to read her Bible and come to know Jesus personally as well. 

She wasn’t offended with the discussion. Just the opposite, she was very happy. I love sharing Christ with people.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). 

Steve

Your Answer

“Joey, I confess that your Grandpa was saddened about abortions, but that was a little like saying, ‘be warm and filled’ because I was doing nothing. We knew abortion was wrong, but like others, I used the excuse of ‘too busy,’ and besides I didn’t know what to do about it. Then one morning I was convicted while reading the passage “the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:38). So I purposed that every time I prayed, I would pray that God would protect the unborn and unloved.”

“Then over time God moved in our hearts. We heard about Life Chain Sunday (1st Sunday in October, it’s the 6th this year) that promotes awareness of abortion across the nation. For one hour we joined others who stood along a designated road in our town and held pro-life signs and prayed. It was a start. We subscribed to pro-life newsletters so we were informed as to how to pray. We donated to pregnancy centers that helped pregnant women who had needs and chose to give their babies life. Over time we became even more involved.” 

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:14-17). 

Grandpa What Did You Do?

Fast forward forty years, and you are having dinner with your grandson’s young family. It is a special time with many memories being shared and enjoyed. Then the topic turns to a more somber note.

Joey, your great-grandson, full of life and wisdom beyond his eight years, shares that his history lesson was about the Jewish holocaust and how the Nazis killed the Jews. He shared how horrible that was and that if he had been alive then, he would have helped the Jews. He went on to say that when slavery was legal in our country, he would have helped the slaves escape to freedom in the north.

His ten-year-old sister, not to be outdone, pipes up with what she learned. She says that the Jews were killed in Germany, and slaves owned as property in the U.S. because neither Jews nor slaves were considered human. She learned that was also why abortion was legal years earlier too. Babies in the womb were not considered people.

Then Joey turns to you and asks, “Grandpa, what did you do to protect the babies?” Brothers, what would your answer be?

“And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:38).

Reserved

When you see a parking space right next to a business entrance labeled “Reserved for CEO” what do you think? 1) Nothing. 2) He’s top dog and deserves it. 3) Hopefully, that is yours one day. It is common practice when you reach the top of a company there are perks that go with the job.

Sadly, it is often mirrored in homes, and sadder yet, in professing Christian homes. Dad is the authority and he gets/requires the perks that go with it. He goes to bed when he wants to. He has his special treats. He watches/does what he wants to and others do the dishes. Ahhhhhh, what a life. 

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Are we living out Jesus to our family? Not putting on an act, but we have died to self, gotten out of the way so our family can see the Lord working through us? 

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Power

I reached for my belt, hung in its normal place and lifted–it didn’t budge. I resisted my natural tendency to tighten my grip on the belt, bear-down, and give it a strong pull to free it. My mind overruled my initial response. The buckle was caught on the wireframe shelf, and more force would not have been beneficial. What was necessary was a gentle repositioning of the buckle, and it immediately came free. 

Men (okay, and definitely teenage boys) have this natural tendency that if something isn’t responding quite right, get a bigger hammer, and apply more force. Eventually, we learn, sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The times it doesn’t work so well is in human relationships. 

Applying more force to tender, developing hearts may achieve outward compliance for a time, but is a fast-track for creating mere outward compliance which covers up a rebellious heart. Dads: slow, gentle, loving guidance is critical for developing hearts in our children that desire to obey our God and us as parents (in the nurture and admonition of the Lord).

“And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die” (Genesis 33:13).