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.

Empty-Handed

God forewarned Joshua that any remaining nations would affect the Israelites. Their influence would divert the Israelites’ love and worship of God to the other nation’s gods. 

The same is true today as professing Christians fall in love with what the people of our world worship. Few will go to the extreme to deny Christ as they know that would clearly be sin. However, they don’t think about the tears of remorse they will shed when standing before Christ empty-handed. Each will give account for all the wasted hours that were devoted to completely worthless, but exciting, entertainment idols. 

“That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day” (Joshua 23:7-8).

“That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you;” – We must live in the world, but what we embrace is a choice.

“neither make mention of the name of their gods,” – Seems like the number of idols today are endless. It all becomes the topic of our speech and the love of our hearts.

“nor cause to swear by them,” – They become a person’s identity.

“neither serve them,” – With your precious time

“nor bow yourselves unto them:” – They are devoted to them.

“But cleave unto the LORD your God,” – Be joined with God, and pursue Him hard with all your might.

Our Own Enemy

When things go wrong, people want to blame someone. As an example, just a few hours ago I heard a casual acquaintance blame God for something. The reality is that usually we, ourselves, are to blame by making bad choices that lead to painful consequences. 

We can avoid much grief for our families if we will read and heed God’s Word. 

“Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” (Joshua 23:6).

“Be ye therefore very courageous” – Brothers be resolute, unwavering in your commitment to follow Christ. This isn’t about a mere preference.

“to keep” – Retain, treasure and mediate on His Word. 

“and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses,” – Praise God we have more than just the law of Moses. We have it all. Read, my Brothers. Love it, and live it. 

“that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” – Be narrow-minded when it comes to His Word. Inhale the Word, exhale in obedience. 

Brothers, know the Word, live it, and then there will be no reason to blame anyone. It doesn’t mean things will always be without difficulties, but there is peace in following the Savior. (Continued)

Bear with Me Please

There is something that every time I hear it, my heart groans. I believe when it is said, it is meant for good, but it still troubles me. What is it? 

When something happens for good and a person wants to give God the credit, he says it was a “God thing.” You might scratch your head and wonder how that could ever trouble me. Well, my God is holy and righteous. He is the Almighty God of the universe. If mankind were to see Him, we would die because of how holy God is. 

Yet, when people use the above expression, it brings God’s name down to something common. There is no reverence, awe, or respect. The Jews didn’t even say God’s name because it was so holy. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance expands on the word “vain” to include these words: emptiness, nothingness, and vanity emptiness of speech.  

May we give God proper respect and glory. He is worthy of our praise. “Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you” (Leviticus 22:32).

Posted in: Seriously

Which One Are You?

When you have a discussion with a Brother at church, what generally do you talk about? Is it the weather, sports, activities, or the things of the Lord? Is your conversation empty or edifying? “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).

Here Is a Warning

Warning labels began being applied to poison substances in the mid 1800’s and without doubt have saved many lives. Ingesting harmful substances can cause longterm health repercussions and even prove deadly. We knew a family whose son had his throat seriously burned by drinking out of a cup that appeared clean but once had lye in it. It was a rough road for him for a long time. 

My Brothers, none will argue that ingesting sewage is harmful, and there’s been no argument to my warning regarding moral sewage in previous Seriously articles. What your eyes, the windows to your soul, dine on have great impact on your soul and resulting spiritual walk. 

Don’t you wonder how many dads have a poor relationship with the Lord due to their optical “malnutrition.” They have never experienced a close “sweet” walk with the Savior. They haven’t hungered and feasted on His Word because their appetite is poisoned. Sadly, they don’t even know what they are missing. 

“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness” (Luke 11:34-35).

“Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

Sewage Faucet

Paul begins Colossians 3:1 with the phrase, “If ye then be risen with Christ” is another way of saying, if you are saved, because what was to follow wouldn’t apply to those who are hell-bound (John 3:36). Then he continues, “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). The lost care nothing for heaven, because they are consumed with the world. The world is their life and what they love. 

That is not to be the case for someone who has been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb. His eternal home is not earth, but heaven, where our Lord Jesus is. 

John admonishes similarly in 1 John 2:15, “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.” We draw near to what we love because it has our thoughts and focus.

The networks can’t tell you how to think, but they tell you what to think about, because whatever they stream, you fill your mind with.    

A dad’s response following last weeks’ Seriously. 

“Yes!  Well said. I fully agree. If you recall, I work as a psychiatrist.  One of my most common non-pharmacologic prescriptions for people I treat is, “stop watching the news all day.”  It makes one depressed and anxious.  I usually tell them to set a limit of 10-20 minutes per day, then turn it off.  But really, never turning it on in the first place would be even better. Thank you for pointing out this truth from God’s Word!”

Savory Sewage

Living in Florida I remember being fascinated any time I heard about a sinkhole event occurring, sort of like a modern Korah, Dathan, and Abiram moment (Numbers 16). Likely that single event of Numbers would hold the all-time, world record for sinkhole devastation. 

There is a costly, modern day sinkhole of another sort that impacts many (most?) men today. Sadly, few recognize the longterm consequences. However, I’m confident there is a horrific “cost” to God’s kingdom due to all the hours it sucks out of men’s lives and the negative impact to their souls. What is it? It is the news, and man’s insatiable “need” to be informed about every illegal, disastrous, scandalous, juicy, gory, and immoral event that the networks can find to keep their ratings up. 

Do I hear cries of “Heresy!” “Outrageous” “Insanity!”? Please extend me a bit of grace. Consider what the result of mentally “ingesting” the list from above? What profit is there? Does it build you up in Christ? Does it enrich your life or foster love, joy, or peace? Do you have a far greater hunger to read God’s Word as a family than you do to listen to or read the news? How many families are starved for the Bread of Life, while Dad is feasting on the sewage of the world?

Since it is a shame to speak of the works of darkness, it is certainly not good to listen or read them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12). 

My Brothers, Scripture tells us what we are to feed on. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). 

Playing With Fire

It was a hot day during summer vacation. My buddy Jack and I were taking the shortcut home across the vacant lot. I glanced back at Jack, and to my horror, he was tossing lit matches over his shoulder. Why? He was Jack. By the time we got the grass fire stomped out, our tennis shoe soles were severely melted. 

I wonder how many professing Christian dads reading this are playing with fire. You might lose your wife, your children, your home, and even your job. Maybe you aren’t tossing matches over your shoulder, but those compliments to other women, or special movies or “racey” TV shows (I’m confident that some of today’s commercials would have caused Job to cover his eyes), spicy Youtube videos you watch or books you read may be lighting a little fire of a different sort. Could you be saying, “Doin no harm. I can handle it.”? 

Consider Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. God appeared to him and warned him. Still he ruined his life and tore up the nation because he wouldn’t obey his God Who told him to not take foreign wives. “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4). 

Might you and I do well to steer way clear of s*xual temptation? Its power is so strong, we won’t overcome it. We must run from it. 

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). 

Pedal to the Metal

There was an expression I heard and then used growing up when I was ready to be finished with a project or school report, “Good enough for government work.” However, once I was saved and began reading my Bible, I learned that God calls His children to a higher standard. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

May I challenge each of us to consider our walk with the Lord. I shared before about not being satisfied with being barely on the good side of the “line of sin.” That is a “good enough” mentality. There should be no “good enough” when seeking Him. “Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore” (Psalm 105:4).

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-15).

“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 12:2). 

My Brothers, may we give Him our all. 

Easy

The concept of “easy” made one man billions and billions of dollars because he played to the “flesh” of customers who wanted to buy online that way. Satan led the way by playing to the flesh of billions and billions of people, purchasing them and destining them to hell. 

Mankind likes easy. My flesh likes easy. However, Jesus’ command for us to follow Him isn’t easy. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

There is a young brother with a wife and two little girls serving as missionaries in the Ivory Coast. God graciously spared his two little girls when they were deathly sick the end of last year. In their December/January newsletter, when the girls were sick, there wasn’t a hint of self pity or blaming God. Seth is a church planter and also seeking to reach men in prison. I love their hearts. Their life isn’t easy. 

In their April/May newsletter (BTW the date at the top is wrong, November 2020), they mention the need of two computers. In all the years of sending out Seriously/Corners emails, I don’t think we have ever asked for your financial support, but now I am. Would you help them? 

Whatever you would give goes to them through their mission board, Baptist World Missions (baptistworldmission.org). You can give online. Scroll down to “Click to Donate Online,” then “Amount” and for “Designated to,” there is a drop down list where you can find his name: Seth Cuthbertson. Thank you so much. Note: that link doesn’t work in Chrome for me but it did for Teri. 

I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter as well. You can do that through the Subscribe link at the top left of their newsletter page. 

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)