Encouraging, exhorting, equippingChristian Familiesin Jesus Christ
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.
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).
“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).
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).
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).
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).
In front of you are three desserts to choose from, but one is your “absolute-crazy-over-the-top” favorite. You wouldn’t consider picking one of the other two choices even though each is beautiful, rich, sweet, and very popular. Why are you not tempted by the other choices? It is because your favorite dessert has preeminence.
Are you frustrated in your walk with the Lord because of your struggle with the pull of the world on your life? Do you have the head knowledge that Jesus is to be preeminent/first-place, but you are drawn to things of the world? Are they your “favorite,” rather than Jesus? (Sadly many more should be frustrated, but by repeatedly quenching the Spirit and lack of feeding on the Word, their consciences are seared, and there is no desire for more of Jesus.)
My brothers, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). That verse doesn’t mean God will give us anything (the world) we want if we delight in the Lord. The reality is that when we delight in the Lord we don’t want the things of the world. Instead, this verse means that as the preeminent Lord Jesus is our joy and delight, He gives us more of Himself and what we need to obey Him. “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” (From hymn: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.)
Most have a tendency one way or another. These days I see men choosing self. The cry is “I’m free in Christ!” The example to their families (and others watching) is you can have Jesus in your pocket and live a selfish and fruitless life (translate fun).
However, isn’t the better choice to serve one another in love—first our families and then those around us. Think about how that delights the Lord Jesus and our wives, and think of the example that is laid before our children.
“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).
What is it that you love? Morning time in the Word, worship time with believers, time with your wife, your children, your job, the news, sports, TV, movies, or other forms of entertainment?
Have you ever thought about the fact that what most people love (even professing believers), won’t be in Heaven. There are no big screen TV’s, no social media, no news, no movies, and no sports.
Heaven will be heaven because Jesus is there and we will have eternity to worship and praise the Lamb that was slain, Who was and Who is.
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. … To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 5:12,13).
The white, Limited SUV pulls up in the home daycare’s driveway and parks. A professionally dressed woman steps out of the driver’s side, and two school-age girls pile out of the back seat. The girls race toward the front door. The winner grabs a short rope attached to a large antique “dinner bell” beside the door. Simultaneous to the loud clanging, the mother’s voice scolds,”I told you not to touch that bell.” The ringing continues along with childish laughter until the stronger, but slower girl successfully pushes the race winner aside. She now begins her turn ringing that bell loudly providing a tune accompanied to lyrics of: “Stop. I told you not to ring that bell. You are in trouble now.” Could this mom be harvesting the fruit in her children’s lives of others raising her children while she is otherwise occupied?
Raising children who love the Lord Jesus with all their heart, are well-behaved, and academically prepared for life is more than a full-time job. It takes Mom wisely using structured/scheduled time all day in teamwork with you (Dad). I am saddened as I learn of moms who aren’t disciplined and scheduled in managing their time. Your child’s future is at stake.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8).