Category Archives: Debt-free

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

Love Your Children?

It is easy to say “I love you” to our children, but, demonstrative actions are required to confirm it. 

  • Do you lead them in daily family Bible time? 
  • Do you live out the Lord Jesus?
  • Do you have daily personal Bible time? 
  • Do you worship with the family each week?
  • Do you wear a seatbelt? 
  • Do you refrain from exciting and dangerous activities because you want to be around to provide for and disciple your children? 

Some might wonder what the last two items have to do with loving your children. Love puts the needs of others above their own selfish interests. I am especially grieved when I hear about a dad who lost his life or was seriously injured by something that could have been avoided.

It is easy to buckle a seatbelt. Yet without doing that, it is also easy to be thrown from the car in an accident and be crushed by it. What about the thrill of blazing a trail down the ski slopes and impacting a tree at a high rate of speed? What about the exhilaration of a fast motorcycle ride on a beautiful day in the country only to end in disaster? Sadly, these are real examples.

If we truly love those entrusted to our care, it must change the decisions that we make.

“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).

Steve

It’s Honorable

One beautiful morning, I observed Bob, a veteran city worker, driving a gigantic, triple-deck, Toro lawn mower. His mission was to mow a small “island” of grass, edged with curbs and many obstacles. If he made one mistake, he’d either damage the city’s mower, one of the obstacles, or possibly injure himself.

If a mower could ballet dance, this one did. It gracefully flowed—grooming every inch, decks raising and lowering while whirling and twirling around obstacles. Bob was a master with an incredible show.

Chris is a sanitation worker. He “flies” along the streets of Leavenworth perched on a small platform that is just big enough for his feet. Before the truck stops, he launches from his perch grabbing bags of trash from the side of the street. In one smooth movement, he flings them into the gaping, hungry mouth of the trash truck.

Fifty years old and working like a fit twenty-year-old, Chris runs, grabs, throws, runs, grabs, throws, and then once again jumps onto the side of the truck. When I complimented him the Saturday morning he manned the brush dump where I was taking a load, he smiled wide and said, “Ya know. That day you saw me, I threw twenty-four ton.” What a guy!

No matter what you do to provide for your family, give it your all. There isn’t a shortage of jobs, just hardworking people.

I’m not aware of Chris or Bob knowing the Lord Jesus, but this verse would apply greatly to each follower of Christ. “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).

Steve

Courageous Love Required

It takes courage to be a good leader and be obedient to the Lord. The Lord’s instructions to Saul were very clear, “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Samuel 15:3). It would have been extremely difficult to carry out this command, but the Lord was clear.

Yet Saul disobeyed and blamed his disobedience on those he was called to lead. “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” (1 Samuel 15:24). Notice a halfhearted confession with no real repentance.

Saul gave a great excuse to say he feared the people  – God didn’t buy it. “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:22-23a).

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). God’s command to fathers is equally clear. Ya think?

Steve