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.

What Seeds are You Planting?

We live within three hundred feet of 12 of our grandchildren. I have a ram’s horn that I use to signal the grandchildren between houses. Christopher’s children use a cow horn, and Andrew (across the street) has a trumpet. It is sort of a grandpa and grandson thing. 

The other day on an errand with ten-year-old Joshua, we were discussing horns, and he told me he would like a ram’s horn like mine. (BTW, if you know anyone who raises and butchers rams, email me please.) He was looking online but didn’t want to spend as much as they were priced. I asked him, “Joshua, why don’t you use your gift money for that?” He replied, “I don’t want to spend over $20 as I’m saving to buy my house debt free.” I sure couldn’t argue with that. I thought, “Great job, Christopher, in planting that seed. It is firmly rooted.” 

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Teaching children wise financial stewardship would rank high as a good thing.

Our Complaints

Is God really good? Wasn’t that the serpent’s (satan’s) agenda in the Garden to get Adam and Eve to question if God was good? Sadly, they believed the serpent, and death and misery have followed. 

The question seems to persist today. Do we believe God is good? Is He really? Do we ever grumble and complain? If not verbally, do we have complaining thoughts? We must realize that our complaints are ultimately against God. They are against the God Who allows all things for our 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). All, really means all.

Your wife: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).

Government officials: “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people” (Exodus 22:28).

The weather, God gave both hot summers and cold winters: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22). 

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). 

“And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD” (Exodus 16:8).

Brothers, God is always good, always. May worship be in our hearts and praise on our lips. 

Encouraging or Dampening

Walking around the convention hall one couldn’t miss the sparkle of sheer delight in many mom’s eyes. They were thrilled to be at a homeschool conference hearing about and seeing the tools of their trade. WIth all the things an average mother does in managing her home, these moms were special because they added homeschooling to an already full mommy’s plate of daily tasks. These were the elite of the elite, the “Navy Seals.” the “Green Berets” of moms in the trenches of raising children. They had not chosen the easy way of sending their children off to school. They were not just doing a job, but were delighting in it. The time Teri and I dialoged with them was energizing. 

There was another aspect that was so good for Teri and me, yet, heart-rending. Those were the stories that tore your heart in two – stories of hardship, struggles with children (with no easy answers), and of the tragedies of life. 

What broke my heart most were the dads who stood lifeless or like a wet blanket in response to their wife’s excitement. She turns to him with an excited, hopeful voice, “Honey look at this.” He replies with a flat, dull, indifferent tone, “Ya, I see it” or something negative. 

Dads, we are the blessed of the blessed of the blessed to have wives who will invest their lives to school our children. May we love them in word and deed, honor them, and thank them. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Please don’t forget that it takes a mother to be a father.

Please

When was the last time you felt compelled to tell a friend he needed to listen to a message you just heard? That is what I’m doing right now! In preparation for the Colorado homeschool convention this week, Teri and I listened to our download of a past Keeping Our Children’s Hearts session. (It’s much longer than what we have time for at CHEC.) Each time I listen to that session, I come away with the heavy desire that every Christian parent should listen to it. The message becomes more relevant every year.  

If you appreciate these articles, please get the Keeping Our Children’s Hearts download, or if you have it, listen to it again (and again).   

What a Strategy

Have you ever wondered how the enemy could have been so successful in hindering the church from reaching our country for Christ? We have had over 200 years to evangelize this country and sadly we now have a pagan nation. If Satan would have used persecution to hinder the evangelization of the United States, he knew it would have strengthened believer’s resolve. 

Instead, he used the “good life” and all the fun and exciting things of the world, that weren’t overtly sinful, to pull the hearts of God’s people away from our Lord and His command. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20a).

My brothers that is why we are to guard our hearts and set them on things above. Just because Christians approve of all sorts of things it doesn’t mean our Lord does. “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).  

I remember a Christian teenage boy who told me that he couldn’t imagine life without movies. For many, just fill in the blank instead of movies – TV, video games, sports, skate boards, hunting, fishing, and … For me it was flying small private planes, but I praise God He enabled me to put that away over 40 years ago. Brothers, what do you live for? Examine your time usage and thoughts. 

Consider the End

Consider your children’s first taste of real excitement. Maybe it was a first wild ride on a swing or later a roller coaster. First,”weeeeeee” explodes from his lips. Then comes, “I want to do that again!!!” 

Excitement comes in other packages as well. Video games are designed to be highly addicting and some movies can provide near-real thrills. 

Now consider his first exposure to the Word of God when he was old enough to understand it. Did he respond similarly to the roller coaster? Of course not. 

Face it! The world offers excitement and pleasure beyond imagination. Compare that to “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). In sales, we would call that a very hard sell. If it wasn’t for the Spirit’s involvement, who could be saved and follow Christ? 

Therefore, considering the opposition, the more thrills you introduce them to and give them an appetite for, which grows into a passion, might you be aiding the enemy? Is his short-term pleasure worth the long-term consequences? 

I’ve been amazed at the number of young men who have no interest in meaningful work due to their passion for dopamine-providing endeavors. We all know dads who continue to fuel their physical passions of one sort or another while neglecting their Lord, His Word, and their families. Very, very sad. 

An Obit

Teri’s mom brought over a newspaper clipping of a man’s obituary. He was a family acquaintance for over 30 years. I’m confident he died without a relationship with the Lord Jesus. Last year he was very heavy on my heart. I stopped by his house quite a few times trying to spend some time with him, but he avoided me. I was concerned for his health and his soul. Now it is too late. 

Each of us has a sphere of influence that God has given us. May we be faithful. Lovingly, relentlessly pursue each one while there is time. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). 

GIGO

“GIGO” is a relatively common acronym. If you aren’t familiar with it, it means, “garbage in, garbage out.” If someone puts non-beneficial/harmful material into something, we can expect to get something of equal or lesser value out of it. The Scripture equivalent of that is “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”(Galatians 6:7). A very sad example of that is we are a nation that has thrown God out of the government schools, and we are reaping unimaginable moral corruption. 

It is easy to point fingers, but may we examine our homes first. What place does the Word of God have in your home? Is everyone having a quality time of reading a Bible first thing followed by a prayer? Do you lead your family in the Word every night? As you experience life’s situations, do you relate them to Scripture so the family can develop understanding? 

My Brothers, we are blessed beyond measure to have the written Word of God in our hands. May it be in our hearts. It is so needful and practical. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105). 

Weeds

I have been spraying the weeds that my yard pre-emergent didn’t kill, and there are still a lot of weeds. This is my second spraying and likely won’t be the last. I’m using an excellent weed killer, but I’m surrounded by yards full of weeds. I’m not complaining. I respect my neighbor’s choice for the level of effort they choose to make. To have a nice yard takes an investment of time and money. For some, it is important and not for others.

What a great analogy to the challenge of raising children who will follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian families are surrounded by people who are living for every bit of fun and pleasure/carnality they can get out of this world. Even after your children are saved and have tasted of the joy of the Lord, the pull of the flesh should never be underestimated.“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).

Worldly neighbor friends are tough but tougher are worldly extended family.. The closer and tighter those relationships, the harder it is to resist the influence of the world. On top of that, the more “fringy” attenders at church, Sunday school, and youth group, may provide the greatest pull of all on your children’s hearts toward the flesh. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

History Repeating

Beware.

Prior to the flood: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Sodom: “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly” (Genesis 13:13).

God’s people while being delivered from bondage: “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalms 106:13-15).

God’s people turning to idolatry: “… after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4)

Time of the judges: “… every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). 

Oh my Brothers, be on guard. Love Him. Be in the Word. Live the Word. Follow Him. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

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