Category Archives: Debt-free

Painful Reminders

Ever made bad choices and had someone remind you of them? It doesn’t feel great, but it helps not to make the same one mistake again. Those reminders can be like a giant billboard that flashes, “Don’t do it again. Don’t do it again.” 

God put just such a practice in place for our good according to Deuteronomy 28:46. “And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.” “They” refers to the curses mentioned in the previous verses (16-44) brought about by disobedience. 

The Israelites’ disobedience brought curses, which would be ongoing reminders that they should have obeyed the Lord. Read the list of consequences for disobedience. They are very sobering and may even be some that you are dealing with. Also notice verse 47, “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.” They were not grateful for God’s blessings. Those words are highly convicting to me. I see how my pride has led me to take many of God’s blessings for granted. I have not been grateful to my Lord and am repenting. 

Brothers, are we grateful to our Lord? Gratefulness comes from the heart. Gratefulness to God fuels our obedience. Thankfulness, on the other hand, is an outward expression, which may or may not come from the heart. Being deeply grateful to the Lord carries eternal blessings, the least of which is no regrets. More to be discussed later. 

Steve

Both Are Gone Now

I recently discovered a printed email dated over ten years ago. It was from a dear Brother who was a dynamic follower of the Lord. He deeply loved his Lord and his family. 

I’m also reminded of another dad. He broke his wife’s heart when he told her that he had decided he didn’t want to be married to her any longer and would be leaving the family. There was someone else. 

Both of those dads are gone. The first is with the Lord waiting for his family. The second was killed in an auto accident on his way to work. 

A few thoughts: 

  • Always be discipling your children to know, love and serve the Lord so that their dependence is on Him when you are gone. 
  • Be zealous for time with your family. Life is fragile and uncertain. 
  • Walk uprightly. God does and will chasten. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…” Heb 12:6,7)
  • Nourish and cherish your wife. Invest in her. Satan’s lie is “the grass is greener on the other side.” God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16
  • Live so that you can step out of this life into eternity unexpectedly. Be debt-free so the ones you love aren’t left “holding the bag” of your financial mismanagement.  

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it … So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:25 & 28).

Steve

No Comparison

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.)

Is It Possible?

We just finished a project that could be a huge blessing to you.  We made our book Buying a House Debt-Free an audiobook

Few families can afford to buy their children homes as wedding gifts, but you CAN give them what’s next best—motivation and direction toward a debt-free house they buy before marriage. I guarantee you in the years to come, they will appreciate that home, and bless you for starting them down that path. All five of our sons have purchased homes debt-free, and yours can too. 

Jim Bob Duggar said every family ought to read Buying a House Debt Free. With the book in audio format, even busy dads, with little time to read, will benefit. 

Owning a home debt-free before marriage is more attainable than after marriage when financial obligations increase. That is why being debt-free is only a dream for many families. I plead with you, even if you can’t personally attain a debt-free house, you can give the gift of that vision to your children. “Read” Buying a House Debt-Free in the car while you are driving, and make windshield time beneficial. 

I loved recording this book. I forgot how much great practical information was in it. It is like Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family, my first book, Part 2, 3, and 4. There is also solid information about college, managing finances, and gaining practical skills. Dads, if you are too busy, ask your wife to get it and listen to it. Whether your children are young or late teens, your children will bless you. 

“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).

Steve

Buddy, Got a Penny?

Most of us have observed someone fall, whether it is moral, financial, or spiritual. The result is that many suffer, and our Lord is dishonored. People (especially the guy) are often surprised by it. “How could this have happened?” 

Have you walked along a mountain trail next to a sharp drop-off or been on a tall, precarious ladder? If so, you exercised great caution because you valued your safety and recognized the risk. Notice that high value and significant danger produce caution. 

Satan’s tactics are quite predictable–he seeks very small compromises where value is insignificant: therefore no apparent risk, and no need for caution. He then comes back for more, and more, but who cares. What’s a penny? Before long the person is comfortable with compromise and set up for the fall. 

King David did not go out with his troops (a penny). When he couldn’t sleep he went out to the roof. Then he “looked” (another penny) and kept looking until desire conquered him (gotch-ya). 

King Solomon (the wisest man ever) in 1 Kings 3 made affinity with Pharaoh (frankly more than a penny) and took Pharaoh’s daughter to wife (seemingly a penny). Then, “… king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites.” 

Ultimately, “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 …. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord…. 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods” (1 Kings 11:1-8) (beyond gotch-ya).

Dad, are you valuing your marriage, family, and relationship with the Lord? What “little” compromises are you making? Are you flirting with the world?

Steve

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