Category Archives: Debt-free

I Can’t

At my suggestion a man repair or build something himself, I have often heard, “I couldn’t do that. My dad never taught me how.” Pardon my candor, but so what! Anyone of average mental and physical ability can do just about anything he is determined to do. 

From my observation, initiative is usually lacking when “I can’t” is the excuse. This lack is generally due to a serious case of “couchpotatoitis” combined with “workaphobia” and “learnaphobia.” The symptoms become even more obvious in the children of the stricken parent.  

The good news/bad news, is that it is curable, but it is a rough, tough road. Feed the good appetites, and starve the bad. Cultivate a sense of pleasure and excitement from accomplishing things. 

Read these books with your children: Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family and Buying a House Debt-Free. Discuss the books, and give your children a vision for an adulthood of enjoying work and being debt free. 

Most of you have mortgages. Do you like that? Why not help your sons buy their first houses debt free as my five sons have? (I don’t say that to brag but so you know it is possible. Come on. If we can do it, you can.)

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction” (Proverbs 24:30-32).

Steve

Whose Side Are You On?

Likely you have heard someone in a disagreement exclaim, “Just whose side are you on?” where loyalty was being questioned. Maybe those have been your words or at least your thoughts. Maybe (hopefully not), your wife sided with someone other than you. Hurts doesn’t it? Loyalty is something that goes deep. 

Picture how your wife may feel when someone influences the children to want something  harmful to them–the children she carried for 9 months, bore, and then nurtured as they grew. Think how she deeply desires to see God’s best in their lives. But what if it is you, the man she has vowed before God to follow, who has instilled, negative or even harmful influences in the children’s lives? She wants to be loyal to you, but her heart cries out and fears for what she sees in your children. You might ask “How can I be the problem? I love the children too.” Two words Dad—your appetites and affections — in other words your example.

Regularly we hear from moms whose husbands are leading the children astray. 

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and “Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries” (Joshua 5:13-14).

Steve

Shared Secret

Many ask how I taught my children to do so many things. Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family is the long version of this.

Teach your children that they can do all things through Christ which strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). If God calls us to do something, He will enable us. If we don’t know how to do it, we have to first learn how (the easy part), and then we do it. 

Parents set the example by being sponges to learn (and enjoy work). 

Learn:

  • of the Lord Jesus, first and foremost
  • technical/vocational skills (make your time worth something)
  • relationship skills
  • communication skills, one-on-one and speaking to groups. 

(Side note: if you aren’t a self learner, learning will cost you.)

Now comes both bad news and inversely the key. The enemy of learning is entertainment. If you and/or your children love entertainment, sorry. Ignore all of the above. Your children might as well be wearing a 100 pound backpack through life. Few want to learn and work when they can play.

“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).

Steve

Purpose

We each have a need for purpose, which is no surprise since God created us that way. What is your experience with people who know that they know their purpose in Christ and live it? Don’t their days have meaning and direction? Aren’t they energized by it?

If the Lord’s will isn’t our purpose in life, mankind turns to the world. Therefore, may we live and breathe to do the Lord’s will and bring Him glory. “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).

The Lord bought us with the most precious substance, His blood. We are His. He is to be the focus and very purpose of our lives. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Jesus embodies this with the Father.

To focus on His will gives us meaning and direction. He is our leader and the full Authority directing us (BTW, we are commanded to live under the laws of the land). He will use our every minute according to His good and perfect will if we will let Him (read choose it).

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Steve

What Is It? 

  • Young adults are lost without it. 
  • Adults may have it, but often it is misguided. 
  • It seems rare to find the elderly with it. 
  • Having it gives hope. 
  • Money often gives it.
  • Sports often give it. 
  • Marriage proposes it. 
  • Death kills it. 
  • Jesus Christ embodies it.

What’s yours? Give it some thought until next week. 

“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).

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

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

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

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