Category Archives: General

Full Circle

Our country was founded because men were in pursuit of religious freedom. They desired to peacefully serve their God as they understood the Bible taught. Many Englishmen suffered terribly in prison for being non-conformists to the Church of England. John Bunyan was one who spent twelve years in prison with much hardship to his family. 

In 2019 the accusation has changed, but the concept lives. Today you could be called  “intolerant” if you gently speak out against what God calls wrong. Each must choose who you will align with. There is no middle ground. “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5b). 

Steve

Craftsmen

We ate Saturday evening dinner at my oldest son Nathan’s house. He and Melanie have five children from 10 down to almost 2 with another one on the way. The children had baths that afternoon, and after Bible time it was apparently fingernail cutting time. I watched with interest as Melanie cut the little’s nails. She used nail scissors and deftly moved from finger to finger. Actually, it reminded me of a craftsman, due to how smooth and quick she was.

There are many skills that moms acquire and utilize throughout their days with the children, and that spurred my thinking to dads. We typically think of dads’ skills in regard to providing for their families. Could that be wood, hay, and stubble compared to the gold skills of discipling the children?

Are you a craftsman when it comes to leading an interactive, engaging Bible time or having heart-to-heart talks with your children? Can you artfully apply Scripture to the precious, teachable moments that come along as you strive to reach the soul and not just attain outward conformity? How committed are you to bringing up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord that they might love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength?

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

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

More On The Secret

I shared the article “Shared Secret” on the Titus2.com blog. I received this comment and the following is my response. I felt it would be helpful for Seriously dads as well.

Blog comment: I concur with the idea that entertainment detracts from more useful application of one’s energy, especially since time can so easily slip away when you’re distracted. My question for you is whether there comes a point in time when one is too focused on serious pursuits, i.e. being a “work-a-holic”? How do you balance focused learning or on-task time with relaxing fellowship time? Erica

Hi Erica, First, I’m not sure it follows that the opposite of loving entertainment is being a work-a-holic. It seems like there might be a subtle inference of that in your question. That aside, maybe there are some who became too focused on serious pursuits. However, our personal experience and observations of others is that the natural pull/tendency is toward wasting time, particularly through various forms of entertainment, versus too many serious pursuits.

For believers, Scripture sets an example of working six days and resting one. Thankfully, most don’t have to work six days to live, but Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 10:23 is important: ”All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” Given available time, how can it be used to edify (build up) ourselves or others?

To spend time beneficially has become a guiding principle for our family. Serving, loving and learning are foundational verbs in making time edifying. The following verse keeps everything in balance because it is easy for something to get out-of-balance, whether it be learning, resting, and even working. “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). 

That verse means that our time is to be completely surrendered to our Lord Jesus. He may for a season shift time so that it is heavy in one area, maybe serving, or another time in loving someone in need. But if our time is under His direction, then we can have confidence the result will be good. ”And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Steve

Posted in: General

Your Turn

  • Adam: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.
  • Noah: Make thee an ark of gopher wood.
  • Abraham: Thou shalt keep my covenant. Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,… and offer him.
  • Lot: Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 
  • Joshua: Arise, go over this Jordan,… Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.
  • Samson: For the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb
  • Jonah: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it
  • John the Baptist: Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
  • Paul: Prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.

Your turn, Dad: …..What is God’s direction for you? Will you obey?

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8).

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

Alternate Choices

I grew up in the typical worldly home, and that was topped off by my parents getting a divorce. I was the average lazy teenager. I spent my time in the most fun way. That was my life until after the Air Force, two years of college, and one year of marriage. Then the Lord saved Teri and me. Our world changed. Hallelujah!

Teri and I surrendered our lives and home to the Lord and grew in Him. Life was refreshing. Raising our children, we made some nontraditional choices in how we, as a family and as individuals, spent our time. We felt Scripture taught us that our time was precious and to be used in edifying ways.

There was some risk with these decisions as we raised our children in our understanding of the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It was possible as adults they might have said they wished for sports and lots of entertainment like other kids.

Imagine my joy this week to hear one of my sons, almost 30 years old, say, “I’m glad that I am not a sports fan. I would much rather spend time with my wife and children. I also doubt I would be where I am at with my business.”

Dad’s, I encourage you to pursue the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

“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

Lying

I’ve yet to meet anyone who likes being lied to. How do you feel about being lied to? What if someone close to you lied to you? Do you ever lie? Do you ever lie to someone close to you?

If you answered “yes” to lying, shouldn’t that sin be dealt with immediately?

Let’s assume your answer was “no,” you don’t lie. Let me ask you another question. Do you ever lie to yourself? No? When was the last time you said you were going to do something but didn’t do it? Even if you didn’t tell anyone else, wasn’t that a commitment to yourself?

If we excuse ourselves from keeping commitments, then it will be easy to excuse ourselves (lie) to others too. May we be men of integrity.

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:9,10).

Steve

My Favorite Question

For those who have worked for someone who consistently made poor decisions, you understand how demoralizing poor decisions can be for those who must live with the results. Frankly, quite often Teri and my hearts go out to wives whose husbands would resemble that employer just mentioned. At least with a job, you can look for another one, but that isn’t God’s plan for marriage. (God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16)

Listening to dads share decisions they made and the corresponding fruit they are harvesting often prompts me to ask my favorite question. “So Brother, how’s that working for you?”

It is good to step back and consider the fruit resulting from a previous decision and perhaps re-evaluate. “But wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:35). Over time the fruit will prove the decision.

Evaluate those situations. How did you get there? What might have been your motives in making the decision? Were you just trying to “make the pain go away” or earnestly seeking the Lord’s will, no matter what the personal cost?

“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:21).

Steve