Category Archives: General

ARE YOU PREPARING YOUR SONS?

In 2001, we published a book called Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family. A top question many homeschooling families were asking at that time was: How can my sons get good jobs with a homeschool education? Because two of our sons had been taught at home throughout their school years, and because they were earning incomes that could support a family, we wanted to share what we had learned. It was our desire to encourage other families to stay the homeschooling course and to prepare their sons for their futures. That question is as pertinent today as it was then, and Preparing Sons is every bit as important and applicable as it was 23 years ago, maybe more so.

The information in Preparing Sons begins with ages 3 to 6, moves to 7 to 12, then 13 to graduation, and finally post-high school. There is so much in that book that is practical and easily implemented. Families whose sons were in their teens when they bought Preparing Sons, when it was first published, now have sons who are in their late thirties. Many of those families read that book and set it aside, continuing to live just as they had been living. Now in some of those families, there are sons who are struggling needlessly in adulthood. Had their parents caught the vision presented in Preparing Sons, might their sons be in a better position to support a wife and children? 

Then there were other families who read Preparing Sons and said, “We want to do this! We desire this outcome for our sons.” With the Lord, they developed a vision for their sons. They made changes, and they prepared their sons not to be children forever but to be responsible, capable adults. Today they see the positive fruit in their adult sons’ lives.

We think each of you has a desire for your sons to grow to manhood as virtuous, industrious men of God. What are you doing to facilitate that outcome? We often hear from wives who share with us about a husband who is a slave to video games, movies, or other forms of entertainment. How are you raising your children so that they will transition, at the appropriate time, from being a child to being a man?

When our boys became teens, we wanted to direct their time usage into profitable pursuits. Their childhood playtime was replaced by activities that were productive. Of course, they had school that took up much of their day. They might spend other time practicing an instrument, doing lawn maintenance or other chores, and especially important was developing marketable skills. The results were good. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Time invested in productive pursuits during youth reaps positive benefits not only during those years but throughout their lives. We give our children purpose when they are teens by helping them be productive with their time. We can encourage them toward ministering and studying, while developing and utilizing skills that can be used to generate income in the present and in the future.

So many of the youth of today are hopeless. They don’t know Jesus Christ, and they have no purpose. Their lives are sadly out of control. Many are on anti-depressants. They have nothing worth living for, and they become overwhelmed with the emptiness of their lives.

Your children don’t have to be like that. You can turn the teen years into an exciting time, filled with responsibility and productivity with the accompanying outcome of satisfaction in their lives.

We released another book several years after Preparing Sons called Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son. In that book, we trace a path that parents can take to facilitate their son’s ability to purchase a debt-free house before he is 30 or at least have a soldi head start toward that. We want to see all of your sons do what our five sons did: own debt-free houses when they are married.

You love your children. What is your vision for them? Is it a big vision? Ours was. Thirty years ago most would have told us it was impossible to achieve the vision we had for our sons. It wasn’t—not for our sons, not for the other young men whose stories we share, and it doesn’t have to be for your sons.

If you have a son who is currently 13 years or older, will he own a house with no mortgage before he is 30? Can you instill that desire in your little boys who are only 5 or 6? The choice is yours. We want to set this generation of young men on fire for having real purpose in life with the side benefit of debt-free living. What do you want for your sons? Will you accept the challenge?

So Simple

There are some Bible truths that are so simply stated they would seem very easy to implement. For example, “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).

Another way of putting it would be. As a child of God, bought and paid for by the blood of my Lord Jesus, I should only do or say what my owner, whom I’m representing, would say or do. All the while giving thanks to the Father. 

Can anyone truly live that way while in the flesh. No. But is that the desire of our hearts? What to be a dynamic, on-fire for Christ, steadfast follower not compromising but glorifying Him. Make that our daily prayer and goal.  

Privacy

On a regular occurrence, I have a computer notification that relates to the hot topic of my privacy. I believe we might be shocked to learn the extent of what is known about our every move and purchase. Such is life with advanced technology, GPS tracking, and cell phones. 

Frankly, those concerns seem silly in comparison to what is actually known about each of us, to include what is done in the privacy of our homes. Every word that is spoken and the thoughts we think are open before the righteous, holy God of the universe. He sees and knows everything. How many realize or even care?

Those who love Him should care. May the desire of our hearts be to please the One Who loves us and died for us. The Psalmist says it so well. “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me” (Psalms 101:2-3).

Sadly, it is considered normal for Christians to be entertained and have pleasure in viewing wicked things. It could be TV, movies, or YouTube videos – often justified with “there isn’t much wicked in it” or “there is more good than bad.” It could even be the news that many men are addicted to (Not addicted? Check yourself. What happens to you emotionally if you think about not watching the news anymore?)  What is the news? It is every rotten, immoral, secret sin (newsworthy of course) brought to light for viewing pleasure under the guise that people need to know about it. Really? “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).

Posted in: General

Any Problems?

When someone asks you how you are doing, often the response is predicated on the problems we are facing. No problems equals a great day. However, if you are alive, working, and interacting with others, likely you are dealing with problems of one degree or another. How do you respond? Feel sorry for yourself? Be grumpy? Go around with a sad face? Do your “best” to make others as unhappy as you are? Maybe you’ve been there and done that but are willing to try something else. 

Here are some thoughts. First, what is in your power to resolve? Whatever is, allocate time and energy and then deal with it. 

Next, consider if any of it is my fault or something I need to take responsibility for. May we be quick to ask the Lord, “Is it I?” Amazing how often we either are the problem or hold the keys to the solution. If so, we must own up to it and resolve it. 

Consider if the Lord may be chastening you (Hebrews 12:5-7). 

If not chastening, maybe God wants to use afflictions to grow you. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Seek your wife’s input. We can be blind to something she has been concerned about and praying about (Proverbs 27:6).

Sometimes what we need most is a right perspective. As children of the Lord Jesus Christ (if saved by faith in His shed blood for our sins), nothing can afflict us that He doesn’t permit. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).

Read the Psalms if you want the right perspective on suffering and resting in the tender care of the God of the universe. He is good, always good, always. 

The Blessing of a Smile

I remember the time years ago, in the midst of my season of homeschooling when my husband looked at me one day and said, “Honey, I think you should smile more.” I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but I am sure it was not one of my more stellar days, and I didn’t receive his encouragement very well. I went off by myself into my bathroom and did a little experiment.

I looked at myself in the mirror and evaluated how I looked. Then I pretended to be unhappy with a child while correcting the child with an attitude. Immediately, I thought to myself, “Wow, Lord, if You had put little mirrors on my children’s foreheads so that I could see what they are seeing when I am displeased with their behavior, perhaps I would have more quickly come to the meek and quiet spirit that I long for.”

Finally, I smiled at myself in the mirror. The difference was astonishing. It was beyond amazing. There was no doubt in my mind which image I preferred looking at, and I could readily see why Steve suggested that I smile more. Truly, the smiling face was the one I desired for my family to see.

When a mom writes to me with struggles with her children, the first thing I usually ask her to do is to look each child in the eye at least once every day, smile at him, and tell him you love him. We get busy with life. We work with our children. We talk to them. We play with them. We do school with them. We disciple them. We are with them a great deal of time each day. Sometimes, though, we forget to simply quiet ourselves enough to catch their eye, smile into their face, and express the words that fill our hearts—”I love you!” We might say, “I love you” as we hug them during the day or tuck them in at night, but what about looking them in the eye when we say it?

There isn’t a verse in Scripture that says there is power in a smile, but this verse is pretty close: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13). Here the smile comes from the heart. For me, there were times when my heart was not merry, but I chose to put a smile on my face. From that, I discovered the decision to smile could also cheer up my heart.

A smile is a blessing to my family. They like to see a wife and a mother who is happy. A smile is a blessing to me. It expresses my feelings for my family, and it causes me to feel happier. A smile is also a blessing to my Lord because it says to Him that I am content in Him with whatever circumstances He has given to me. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

Could I challenge you to take the mirror test yourself? What kind of wife and mommy do you want your husband and children looking at—the one who is smiling, the one who is serious, or the one whose brow is furled and frowning? I would like to remind you to smile more. I would like to remind myself to smile more. There is a blessing in your smile. Don’t lose those precious blessings!

Teri

Beyond Blessed

When someone asks me how I am, I will almost always reply “Blessed.” (BTW I found that to be a great conversation starter with the lost). In this country most of us are so crazy blessed. Even considering day-to-day problems and illnesses, we are blessed beyond imagination (to include those who don’t know the Lord). Grocery stores are lined with food, gasoline at the pumps, cars to transport us, water from faucets and indoor toilets. Since creation, people spent great amounts of time just to manage the necessities of life. Are you grateful? 

Consider all the time that has been saved each year in fast transportation, not having to grow your own food, manage water and hygiene. How is it being redeemed? “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). The fool squanders but the wise sees the great value of his (the Lord’s) time and will exchange it for something more valuable.

As the world’s population doubled and tripled, the conveniences give us more time to be about the Lord’s business. We will all stand before the Lord to give account of how we used our time. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

When asked by the Lord to justify how we spent His time (He owns all of us), it won’t go well to say, “I had so much fun. Lord, as You know, I was careful not to use my time sinfully.” 

Are we: 

  • In the Word?
  • Discipling your children? 
  • Investing in your wife?
  • Ministering to the saints?
  • Reaching the lost? 

Brothers. May those be the things that thrill our hearts.

Worth It

Teri and I are pretty careful about what we purchase. The more it costs, the more consideration and comparison shopping. Do we really need it, or is it a want? Is it really worth that much money?

What if you wanted something and it was going to cost you a literal “arm and a leg”? Of course, most (maybe all?) would never consider such a purchase. It would have to be more valuable than anything we purchased previously. I’m guessing most would not give an “arm and a leg” to purchase their house debt free. But what if your arm and leg would actually save your child’s life? Would you give your arm and a leg for that?

Consider now that Jesus Christ gave His life to purchase you and me. Not only His life, but suffered a cruel and horrible death to redeem us by His blood. My brothers, as you look at your life, since salvation, have you been a worthwhile purchase? Have you been a faithful servant or busy about your pleasure? Maybe you have given 80% to being a faithful servant and only kept 20% for your pleasure? 95% and 5%? May we be faithful 100% of the time. Pitch the TV, movies, news and sports. Invest in your family and be used of the Lord.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). 

Posted in: General

The Wicked Friend

He’s a friend you haven’t seen in years, and you are surprised to encounter him at the gas station. He’s back in town briefly on business. You invite him over for dinner to catch up. 

He arrives, and you are anticipating an enjoyable, relaxing evening. Soon however, he begins sharing about his new passion in life – nature and evolution. He had thought the concept was crazy, but now he is convinced it is true. Your children are with you at the table as he gives lots of interesting information about nature and the world, all from an evolutionary perspective. 

What would you do? Would you allow him to continue filling your children’s minds with the lie of evolution and other facts which he claims support a godless creation? 

What amazes me is how many Christian families do just that. In the name of learning about science and nature, they invite a guest into their home to preach about evolution to their children through TV and documentary nature shows. “He” gains access to the children’s minds in exchange for quietly occupying them. They may learn a few facts about nature, but it is at the high cost of giving “mother nature” the glory that is due to God because of His marvelous creation. 

It could also put the question in a child’s mind: Is evolution true? He realizes that many, maybe even most, believe evolution. Why is it a surprise that young adults are leaving the faith?

“Ye that love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10a).

“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).

Almost

Paul had just made his defense and stood before King Agrippa. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28). Agrippa indicated he was on the edge of making the most important decision one can make, salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Sadly, Scripture gives us no indication that he was ever saved, and he is likely in hell – so, so close.

“Almost” is similar to Christians who say “I was gonna” or “I plan to.” Just like “almost” they don’t involve action. Brothers, good intentions and warm thoughts, aren’t enough.

We will grow in Christ when we are making and acting on a host of right decisions. We do this, not to look good, “earn points” or make ourselves feel better. These decisions followed by actions are indicative of walking a path of obedience as we seek to please Him – not “I was gonna,” but “Yes, Lord.”

Some examples of these might be: assembling together (Heb 10:25), weekly giving (1 Cor 16:2), daily personal time in the Word (1 Peter 2:2), in prayer (Rom 12:12), leading your family in daily family Bible time (Deut 6), sharing Christ with the lost (Matt 28:19-20), holiness (2 Pet 3:11).

The Worst Words

Imagine the end-times judgement of those who were not followers of Jesus Christ. We aren’t given many specifics, but what if the redeemed are able to observe the judgement of those who never came to Christ? If so, can you imagine with me one of your neighbors is summoned and stands before the Lord. The Lord, the Judge of all the earth is told that your neighbor’s name is not in the Book of Life. Your neighbor then hears those terrible words, “… I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23a). Your neighbor is horrified and realizes his fate is eternal hell. If only he had been told earlier. 

Then he turns toward you and points a shaking finger and SCREAMS, “YOU HYPOCRITE! YOU KNEW I WASN’T A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, AND YOU DIDN’T DO EVERYTHING YOU POSSIBLY COULD TO HELP ME COME TO HIM?” 

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Brothers, how serious are you in sharing Christ with those you know, neighbors, and extended family? Might the worst hypocrite be the one who is saved and does not love his “neighbor” by telling him about salvation by the blood of Jesus?