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.

Fearful or Bold

Many believers have recently been focused on the events prior to and including Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Then attention typically turns to the disciples, hiding in fear for their lives. Their hopes and dreams of reigning with Jesus were likely exchanged for mental images of being crucified themselves. Have you ever imagined yourself in that position? What a blessing that most of us have not experienced persecution for our faith. 

I wonder how many of you are fearful to share your faith. Are you actively sharing your faith? “… as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). The question isn’t how many you have led to Christ, but are you sowing seeds? If we truly love the Lord Jesus and others, may we not miss any opportunity.

“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. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

(To be continued.)

Love

This week we celebrate the greatest demonstration of love the world has ever seen. God’s love was the main motivation for Jesus’ sacrifice and making available a sinner’s redemption. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). 

Sadly, God’s love is often misunderstood. God’s love for and acceptance of the repentant sinner does not mean unconditional approval after salvation. We come to God on His terms, and once purchased, we live to serve Him. 

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1-2). 

We must not love or follow the world. Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins, so that we may be living sacrifices for Him. “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).

What Could Be Better?

Who would have imagined our government “giving” taxpayers big checks? Free money seems too good to be true. 

Might that be similar to many “believers” view of their relationship with the Lord Jesus today? They “believe” in Jesus, and in return, He is supposed to give them the good life. How did the greatest act of sacrificial love become so trivialized and distorted? 

We are not worth even a molecule of the Lord Jesus’ blood yet He thought it good to purchase us. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). 

Might we use this season to adore Him and reflect on His sacrifice and worth? Thank Him, trust Him, obey Him, and worship Him. He alone is worthy. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

BTW, Satan cursed Adam and his children by getting Adam’s focus off of God and onto food (clever and effective). May we not be guilty as well by giving children chocolate bunnies and eggs when all attention and glory is due the Lord Jesus Christ? 

“But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23).

Fired

Don’t you just love the account when Elijah called Israel to follow the Lord and not Baal. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him …” (1 Kings 18:21). What an amazing demonstration of God’s power when fire came down and burned up the sacrifice (1 Kings 18:38).

Do you remember what Elijah did next when Jezebel said she was going to kill him? He ran for his life (1 Kings 19:3). God then sent Elijah on a very long wilderness walk to give him time to consider (repent of) his behavior. The result was that God fired Elijah because he didn’t have the courage to trust God to protect him. God gave Elijah’s job to Elisha (1 Kings 19:16). My brothers, receive this grave caution. There is a point when God says, “ENOUGH.”

What place does God have in your life? Are you double minded like Israel was? Are you fearful of trusting and following the Lord fully like Elijah? Elijah had many words proclaiming his obedience–God disagreed (1 Kings 19:9-19). Elijah’s confident words in himself were not enough. We must obediently live our faith.

Brothers have you considered others that would be blessed by subscribing to Seriously? Why not encourage them to subscribe?  

Be Better Than Smart

I just sent my keyboard to the landfill by spilling tea on it. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know that tea on a keyboard might render it useless. I knew it, but the problem was my lack of acting on what I know. 

That might be the closest I come to similarity with Solomon. He knew better. He just didn’t implement what he knew. However, his was worse than a hundred-dollar keyboard. The wisest man in all the earth was warned of the consequences of marrying foreign wives. He had money, power, and wisdom. He lacked one thing, though, that his father David encouraged him toward. “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God…” (1 Chronicles 22:19). Solomon didn’t have a heart after God.

Then God said to Solomon, “if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom…” (2 Chronicles 7:18-19). 

My brothers, set your hearts on God—to love Him and obey Him. Make Him the joy of your life. “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). 

Not Worth Much

It is common for Teri and me on our morning walk to encounter youth on their way to school. Our custom, due to the love of Christ, is to greet them pleasantly. In more recent years, many totally ignore us. Our cheerful greeting is met with dead silence and no eye contact which seems more appropriate for a non-entity or something disgusting. (What power–deemed non-human by a twelve-year-old.) We communicate with those we value and not with those we don’t. 

With that thought, consider how long and the quality of your prayer life with the God of the universe. Might that be a reasonable indicator of your relationship with the Lord and your love for Him? “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6). Your wife wouldn’t think much of your love for her if you gave her only a token of time and attention and didn’t want to talk to her. How much more worthy is our Lord and Savior? 

Brothers, don’t allow yourself any excuses. Have a dedicated, private time and place for prayer every day (Psalm 92:1-2). There is no better way to begin your day. “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (Luke 5:16). 

Have specific prayer topics and focus for your prayers. People use grocery lists so they won’t forget something they want to purchase. How much more important are our prayers? (I use a private whiteboard in my study where I list prayer needs and requests.) 

Confess, adore, praise, thank, and petition Him. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 

Love or Duty?

Think back to those days of falling in love with your wife. How you enjoyed getting to know her heart and soul. There was no quick way. It took time. Spending time with her was a delight. Hopefully, it still is.

Spending time in the Word everyday is edifying to our souls. Whether new or old in the faith, time in the Word helps us know and love Jesus better (John 1:14). Then while His Word is still fresh in our minds, we pray. We communicate with the One we love. ”We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

I believe the most important aspect of daily Bible time is “falling” deeper in love with the Lord Jesus Christ as we get to know Him better. Think about how wonderful it is to be in love with the Savior. Then time in the Word is not an “I suppose I should” but “Yay. I get to.” 

If you don’t love the Lord, time in the Word everyday takes effort. However, the goal and result of time in the Word and meditating on it, is a love for the Lord so great, you won’t want to miss a day. 

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deut 6:5).

No Longer United

Satan doesn’t usually come asking for an enormous compromise, but he starts with something seemingly innocent that likely our flesh will agree with. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Or maybe, “You deserve some relaxation (extra sleep),” or “Why not stay up and enjoy the movie,” or “You already had your Bible reading 5 days this week, it won’t hurt to miss it. Don’t be legalistic.” We are crazy legalistic about eating every day. Our time with our Lord’s Word is vital to our spiritual health, (walk with Christ), my brothers.

Over these last two decades, Teri and I have had a lot of visibility into lives and usually, those who are struggling with their walk are the ones who aren’t spending quality time reading their Bible every morning. Either the disciplines/habits weren’t developed or compromise got to them.

Our country began with “One nation under God.” One compromise after another brought us to where we are today. Oh, my brothers, be steadfast in feeding your souls and nurturing your relationships with the Lord Jesus. If you don’t, sadly, you will find lots of company. 

“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

“For to be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). 

To be continued. 

Let’s Get Serious

Have you ever admired someone who seems to have a deep, sincere relationship with the Lord Jesus? Have you secretly yearned for that too? My brothers, it can (must) be like that, but it starts with a choice. Make having a close, loving, on-fire relationship with Jesus Christ, the holy, righteous God of creation, your commitment. Any piddly cost to us is NOTHING compared to what Jesus “paid” in emptying Himself, taking on human flesh, and dying to purchase us with His blood. In light of His sacrifice, anything it costs us is NOTHING. 

It begins with commitment and action. I suggest you set in stone the following:

  1. Your wakeup and bedtime is the same every day. 
  2. Then before the distractions can begin, read your Bible for thirty minutes.** Usually, wrong priorities might make one think that isn’t possible. (Seriously, you don’t have thirty minutes a day for the One Who purchased you with His blood?)
  3. Read His Word with the commitment of living out (obeying) what you read. Systematically ingest His holy Word with the commitment to live it.
  4. Then pray for at least 15 minutes**. I suggest having bullet items written out. 

Almost everyone I talk to seldom misses a meal. How much more committed should we be to our Lord? 

** (It is possible that during some seasons or due to circumstances, that amount of time isn’t possible. If you want an objective perspective, let’s talk.) 

“And all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple, for to hear Him” (Luke 21:38).

(To be continued) 

Clean on the outside but

You walk into church and give a warm smile and a handshake or hug to the brothers. Some of you are greeted as “Pastor.” Whatever your role, it’s another Sunday and time to assemble together to worship our righteous and most holy God. But if only we had “idiot lights” like a car dashboard on our foreheads warning if the heart is dirty. Then someone could come alongside and offer a word of exhortation, challenge, or even rebuke. God, however, doesn’t need those indicator lights since He sees our hearts. What’s He seeing on yours and mine?

“Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them” (Ezekiel 14:1-3)?

Man can set up his own private temple of idol worship in his heart which is hidden from others but not God. These might include but are not limited to: mental adultery, covetousness, wickedness, love of self and entertainment/pleasure of every sort. Jesus Christ is to have first place over everything. 

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).