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.

Everyone Has Them

Everyone has standards by which they make their choices in life. I admit, I can’t possibly know the mind of anyone when I say that everyone has them, but I’m confident. If you are the exception and don’t have them, I would love to speak with you. 

The Christian’s rule of standard/faith is to be Scripture. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Then why is it that Christians can be worlds apart in the choices they make? Is it possible some are seeing Scripture as simply a list of commands and prohibitions and everything else not specifically mentioned is a freedom, while ignoring global verses similar to some of these? 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

“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” (Matthew 16:24).

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

“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).

”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).

Heart Healthy

We are to encourage each other in the Lord (thank you for reading BTW). “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Hebrews 10:24). One way we can do this is by asking brothers in the Lord, where they read in Scripture that morning and if anything stood out to them. Daily reading of our Bible is probably the most important spiritual, heart-healthy habit each of us needs.

The wisdom of having a healthy, balanced, physical diet is generally applauded. How much more critical is feeding our soul with God’s Word, which has eternal benefit? Daily supplements are encouraged by health professionals to maintain our health. They are taken daily because you can’t take a mouthful on Sunday and receive the benefit all week. Our time in God’s Word is similar. Even if we heard a great message on Sunday morning at church, daily challenge and exhortation of our souls from our morning time in the Word is also needed. 

The more our habit is to be in the Word daily, the more we will love and cherish that time.“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalms 34:8). Oh my brothers, may we daily dine on the real breakfast of champions. 

What’s Inside?

Surprise! A present is handed to you, and you wonder what is inside. Sometimes packages are well-disguised so you can’t guess, but other times it is easy to figure out by simple observation. Did you realize how similar children can be to disguised packages? 

What is in the heart of a man, or in this case a child, is what drives him. If it is ugly, the child likely will not want others who might disapprove, particularly his parents, to know. Sometimes, he can fake righteousness that could fool them into acceptance and possible praise. However, what truly fills his heart will escape and come out in words and actions. “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35). If you are observant, you can use this information, not to be paranoid or critical of your children, but so that you know how to pray and work with them. 

Posted in: General

Big muscles

Six-year-old Danny (a grandson) dropped to the floor and started effortlessly pumping out pushups to prove his point to me. I never saw a young guy do so many pushups with reasonable form. Our son, Christopher, works out with his children (Danny is one of them.) every morning before school begins. After the energy is out, the children are ready for school with Mom. One of the many benefits of the daily workouts with Daddy is their impressive strength and endurance.  

We understand that exercising our bodies and minds (yay homeschooling) is essential, but how purposeful are you in developing your children spiritually? Sadly, many chiefly rely on Sunday School/church for this. We usually eat 3 times a day, but spiritual development is far more important. Also, children having their own time in the Word every morning is a critical lifelong discipline. 

I love being part of Christopher’s evening family Bible time and listening to how he asks questions on each child’s level of understanding. That is growing a wonderful knowledge of the Lord and His Word in those children.

“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:6,7).

Are you?

Way Too Easy

Have you ever told someone the truth to have them reply, “You liar!”? Those are serious, relationship-killing words. 

Surely none of us would purposefully call our God, the Almighty God, the God of truth, a liar. However, please consider the possibility that we have, and that it might not be a rare occurrence for many. Frankly, that is scary, and it should bring fear and terror to our hearts. Then, how could Israel have done it at least 10 times? 

“Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice” (Numbers 14:22). Tempted is defined as “to test and prove.” In essence, they questioned whether God was good (does good and fulfills His promises) by not believing and obeying Him.

Oh, my brothers, EVERYTHING that God does and brings into our lives is ultimately good. We trust and believe it to be for His glory and our good in Him, and then we obey.

“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:20-21).

Grace Wrongly Applied

If you share Christ regularly, you come to the awareness of how many “good” people there are in this world. Most tell me confidently either they are a good person, or they do good things. They go on to say that God is loving, and He will take all their good works into consideration when they want to go to heaven. Yet, believers who read their Bibles know God has a different standard and does not grade on the curve. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). 

Similarly (but not a matter of Heaven or Hell), I’ve found when talking with professing believers, making worldly choices, they don’t say, “I’m worldly, and I like it that way.” They usually say “I’m free in Christ. He paid for my sin, and I am accepted in His blood. I walk in grace.” Our position in Christ is one thing, yet God has called us to seek a holy life while on earth. 

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

(Strongs: “holy” sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated): — (most) holy (one, thing), saint.)

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). 

May we examine our lives and live for Christ, separate in a godless, God-rejecting world. 

What is the Difference?

Consider two Christians who both do the exact same things:
Reads his Bible and prays everyday Reads his Bible and prays everyday
Goes to church 3 times a week Goes to church 3 times a week
Doesn’t drink alcohol Doesn’t drink alcohol
Doesn’t do x, y, and z Doesn’t do x, y, and z
On and on …. On and on ….

Which one is the legalist? Since Scripture doesn’t use the term legalist, but it is commonly used among professing Christians, we ought to clarify our definition of legalism used here in context. Perhaps it would be fair to say the legalist is the one who makes those choices to look good to others and/or earn favor with God. The other man, who does the exact same things as the legalist, makes his choices out of love for his Lord Jesus and the desire to please Him. The legalist serves himself and the other his God. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2). 

The difference between the two is not seen in actions but in heart motives. The Lord knows which it is because He looks at the heart of man. The legalist is self-centered while the other, who seeks to please God, is God-centered. The legalist does good things or restricts himself from the world to earn praise from God or others. Obviously, no one other than the Lord can know the motives of a man’s heart. “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:28). 

“And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). Jesus said, “…follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). 

Brothers, may we follow Him to please Him, because we love Him Who died for us.

How Long Does Character Growth Take?

Are you ever disheartened because your children aren’t making the progress you desire, particularly in an area of godly character growth? Does this sometimes cause you to want to give up on it? I remember working with our five younger children on responding to directions with a simple “Yes, Ma’am” or “No. Ma’am.” There had been too many situations where I didn’t know if a child was disobedient or simply hadn’t heard what he was to do. Would you believe it took a year and a half of focusing on that for them to learn to consistently respond? 

Does a year and a half sound like a long time to learn to say, “Yes, Ma’am?” It sure did to me! That experience brought me a new perspective on the reality of what character teaching really meant! It might take weeks, months, and even years.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Therefore, we are to be obedient and consistent in teaching our children the ways of the Lord. We instruct, disciple, discipline, encourage, and praise. We pray diligently concerning the specific areas we are working toward. However, the results are not ours! They are the Lord’s, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Whether it takes a week, a month, a year, or ten years does not matter. 

How freeing this should be for you, as a mom. You do not shoulder the responsibility for the outcome. On the other hand, remaining consistent in the teaching is tremendous. It can become wearisome, at times, if your eyes come off the Lord and onto yourself. Galatians 6:9 is a familiar verse that says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Might we agree on the importance of our children going in godly character?

It should not be surprising that it would take children time to develop godly character. Consider  your own personal struggles with character as an adult. For example, how often do you respond to your children with a slight tone of irritation in your voice? Is that the way you want to answer them? Have you prayed and worked toward not letting this happen? Do you still do it?

Hebrews 5:14 says, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” If, “by reason of use,” we come to discern both good and evil, it makes sense to me that “by reason of use” is also an integral part of learning to do good. “Character” doesn’t happen overnight!

Expect the development of godly character to be a long,, ongoing process worthy of the pouring out of your very life! Don’t look at the short-range progress but at the long-term goals. Set your heart, prayers, and consistent teaching on the Lord’s desire for your child to grow in Christ-likeness. Then patiently, day by day, teach, train, and love your children toward their character growth, knowing that the Lord Who has called you is faithful. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:23).

What about you? Have you been discouraged lately over a lack of character growth in your children? Have you become weary in your well doing? May I encourage you to step back, take a deep breath, lift your heart to the Lord, and continue on. Be ready for the long haul, not looking for immediate results but trusting the Lord to accomplish His will. 


Not a Legalist!

Have you ever had a conversation with a Christian and at some point you ask, “Do you read your Bible every day?” 

He replies, “No, I’m not a legalist about it.” What do you say in response to him?

What about you? Maybe you don’t read your Bible and pray every day because you don’t want to be a legalist. You think, “The Bible doesn’t command us to read our Bible every day. I might be a legalist if I did.” 

Give it some thought. Continued next week. 

“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).

Well Said

A tribute to the Gideons and their passion for God’s Word. They have shared over 2 billion copies of God’s Word. The following words are printed inside the Testaments they distribute.  

“The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here too, Heaven is opened and the gates of Hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.  It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.

It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”

Wasn’t that well-said?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).