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.

Gambler, Gamer or Discipler?

My heart goes out to the hopeful, wanna-be millionaire who just spent his money that could have had much better uses than on a million to one chance. His hope, and anticipation, suddenly shredded, is replaced by disappointment. “Oh well, next time, surely next time.”

I wonder if many a Christian dad isn’t actually a gambler at heart. Instead of throwing away $5 a week, he’s wagering something of immeasurable, okay eternal value – his children. He’s hopeful his children will turn out well. At least then they won’t be a lifelong burden for him. Of course, he believes he loves them, but what influence he has, is likely negative. He sows seeds of worldly appetites via double-mindedness that will yield a harvest of bad habits and a dismal life in Christ, at best. 

I implore you. Examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). Don’t be like that dad I just mentioned. Don’t be average. Don’t base your self-approval rating by comparing yourself to today’s Christian dads. Jesus is to be our Lord, and Scripture our admonishment. Pour out your life into serving your Lord and discipling your children. 

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Steve

An Effective Litmus Test

I study people. If I know you, I’m watching. I want to learn from anyone and everyone, and I compare what I observe to Scripture. There are good and bad examples to learn from. This has nothing to do with being judgmental and everything to do with learning.

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding” (Proverbs 24:30). “Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction” (Proverbs 24:32).

One thing I’ve observed (of many) is that the believer who seeks as much freedom “in Christ,” as he can have, will likely have a dismal and unproductive future because his life is wrapped up in himself. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16)?

If you want a fruitful life in Christ, deny yourself, and take up your cross as you follow Him. Sure doesn’t sound like freedom does it? But it is.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

Steve

Soldier, or Defector?

God’s Soldier:

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Defector:

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).

Steve

Posted in: General

Enslaved or Free?

No one wants to be overweight (>60%), indebted (>80%), or addicted. Then why does that describe the majority of adults in the US today? One small, bad choice, then another, and another is how it begins. Those seemingly insignificant choices when chained together become enslaving habits.

How much better to make small, good choices and reinforce them daily, to develop beneficial habits that free rather than enslave? Why not begin today by making good decisions in Bible reading, exercise, healthy eating, frugality, and wise time investment?

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Steve

Which Is It?

Everyone has a past, and often their past is their future. New choices made in the future will continue to resemble bad choices made in the past unless one confronts those choices and learns to make new decisions.

Your past will either dominate you and be a wall or be steps to facilitate you to new heights. Either we will speak to ourselves victim stories or the truth of God’s Word.

Victim stories cater to our pride. “It wasn’t my fault.” “What what else could I have done?” If embracing God’s truth, we are prepared to receive His grace. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). God encourages (okay commands) us to follow Scripture at every junction.

Even more important is that our example is being impressed upon our children. Will they be victims/losers or conquerors in Christ? (BTW, John the Baptist was a conqueror in Christ.)

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

(Is there someone you should share this with?)

Steve

Good Intentions Don’t Count

Have you noticed the explanations that come after a problem or disobedience often concentrate on the person’s wonderful intentions? Young or old, the perpetrator will reveal the most altruistic motives for having done it. Good intentions don’t count. The question is: What did we actually do?

Scripture is very clear on a myriad of commands. God calls us to obey Him, and when we don’t, there are consequences. May we dads set the example of obeying our Lord in all He commands us. A great summary is: May we live to please our Lord and fear grieving Him.

Uzzah loved the Lord as evidenced by his desire to not see the ark damaged by falling off the cart. Yet, despite his good intentions, disobedience cost him his life.

Steve

“And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” (2 Samuel 6:6–7). 

Preventable iToys Addiction

From a dear (courageous) Brother:

“When our children were toddlers, we discovered that an iPad (supplied with various kid’s games) could be used to occupy the kids during times when we were busy, almost like a short-term babysitter. This became a favorite activity for our children, and even resulted in a routine we called “iPad Time” where each child received a scheduled amount of time to play games on the iPad.

“However, we noticed that this activity had a negative effect on our children; they lost interest and enjoyment in almost everything else. My daughter would even throw a tantrum if we told her she couldn’t play with the iPad. Eventually, my wife and I realized that we weren’t developing healthy appetites in our children and we chose to cut out “iPad Time” altogether.

“For more than two years, our children haven’t used the iPad or our iPhones as an entertainment activity, and they’ve grown much more happy and receptive to our input and instruction since.”

Bad fruit often springs from seeds of good intentions. It is much easier to avoid it, Brothers. If you are already struggling with bad fruit, might it be time for some courage, like this Brother?

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3).

“He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” (Proverbs 21:17).

Little Steps?

Everyone seems to want the quick fix these days, or maybe they don’t even try if it appears too difficult. The Lord could have created the world in less than one second, but he took six days. That is 518,400 times longer than He could have.

Most people if given the choice between $500,000 now, or a penny, doubling the value for 31 days will grab the $500,000. People don’t want to wait. In choosing the $500K, they would have left around $10 million on the table. 

The soul and future of your child is worth far more than the $10 million. Do you realize the importance of being 100% consistent in feeding the souls of your children the Word of God? Small daily disciplines, built and sustained, day-by day will yield a lifetime of enormous value. Are you encouraging and overseeing the disciplines that are critical for your children’s future – personal Bible time, prayer, exercise, continuous learning?

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Steve

Speed Bump, Detour, Dead End, or Catapult?

Life can turn upside down in an instant. An accident, a cancer diagnosis, or _______.  We face obstacles in life. Some are easy, some difficult, and some “impossible.” Our response to these will greatly affect our children’s view of God, because it represents how real our faith in God actually is. Paul said follow me even as I also follow Christ. 

I’m thinking of one Brother whose life is ebbing, drip-by-drip, as a bucket with a leak. He requires constant care and suffers greatly.

Another Sister has been through unimaginable health trauma. Her testimony declares the glory of a righteous and merciful God.

May we embrace difficulties that come our way. May we see them as opportunities for God to grow our faith in Him.  May we consider that the mighty work God most desires is not the joy from flattening the obstacle, but unshakable faith in Him.  

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Steve

Odd Children

I was walking with a group of dads to the next session at a homeschool conference when the dad beside me asked a question. He struggled with his wording. “I have noticed some homeschooling young men, and well, there seems to be something unique about them. Well, ah, well, they just seem a bit odd. I don’t mean to be critical by that, but I don’t want my son to turn out that way. What are your thoughts?” 

I encouraged him there are two main considerations. To raise a son who is a dynamic follower of the Lord Jesus will be considered odd/peculiar by the world because he isn’t like them.

However, there is another sort of odd that I believe he was referring to. These are young men who can’t look you in the eye, are barely communicative, lazy, and unkempt. He agreed. I shared that I felt that was more the norm these days and not dependent on a particular schooling method.

One “odd” is desirable. The other is not. The good news is that we can guide and inspire our sons so that they are great conversationalists, diligent, resourceful, physically fit, and able to make a good living. Are you doing that? When the book of your life is closed, will your son’s praise God for the influence you had in their lives or complain? If a change of course is required, Brother, change course.

Want some help? I encourage you in these three resources: Preparing Sons, Buying a House Debt Free, and Making Great Conversationalists.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”(1 Peter 2:9).

“Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4).

Steve