Category Archives: General

The Curse of Summer

A family I know has backyard neighbors who have a swimming pool. The view is close and unrestricted when washing dishes or in the backyard. The problem is that neighbor chooses to wear swimming attire that is hardly noticeable. 

What a heartbreak. For anyone who takes Scripture seriously, such a “sight” is a curse. “Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids” (Proverbs 6:25). “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). 

Even if the dad is able to avoid looking and lusting, will his wife be concerned for her husband’s heart? What about sons in their home? It takes great maturity and self-control to avoid such visual temptation for men, but adolescent sons probably don’t have that. 

Clearly there is no deference shown by that woman. Likely, she considers what she is wearing to be appropriate and appears to have little concern for defrauding her male neighbors and perhaps welcomes the attention.

Sadly, today, many professing Christian women also show little, to no, deference for men and boys by what they wear to church or with family and friends, possibly seeking such attention. Most sin is private, but immodesty is “in-your-face” to those near. Sad times indeed. Summer is here dads.

Steve

Just How Committed?

Another Father’s Day is about here. The years click by, and we have one less year to influence the children living in our home. Has there been tangible growth in your life and children’s this past year? 

The time to influence their lives is diminishing with each day, each hour. Have you noticed that resolutions don’t work? Good intentions even less. It takes commitment, then execution.  

Are both hands to the plow? Is the cry of your heart, “Father, enable me to raise these children to love you with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength?” Dads, is that the way you live and love the Lord?

“…The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).

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

The Well Planned, Well-Executed Homeschooler’s Summer

Don’t homeschool moms look forward to finishing their school year and having a change of pace for the summer? Being purposeful today by praying, thinking, and planning your summer means ending it with a sense of satisfaction in what you accomplished rather than with regrets of wasted time.

Begin by Considering Your End-Goal

If you want to finish your summer well, you have to know what that means. What do you desire to accomplish this summer? What goals might you have? Would you like to get ahead in school? Maybe you desire an outing every week. Perhaps you have cleaning and organizing to do that you don’t have time for during the school year. Are there areas of character in your children that you could develop before August rolls around?

Write down those summer goals. Get them out of your head, in front of you where you can review, edit, add, and subtract from them. As you evaluate the goals, pray. Seek the Lord to determine what stays and what goes and how to accomplish what stays. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). 

Summer Scheduling for Homeschool Mom

With a desire to accomplish those goals, consider putting together a summer schedule. Somehow the “wing it” mentality generally brings you to August with lots of plans still on paper but little accomplished. You might find yourself scratching your head, wondering where your summer went. Not so with a schedule. Whipping together a schedule dedicates time for each of your goals and a huge feeling of accomplishment when summer is over.

Perhaps one of your goals for summer is a slower pace than your school year affords. Your schedule helps you set the brakes on the school-year hurry. Simply give yourself more time for activities, and put in the schedule those activities that say “slower” to you. That might be reading out loud to the children, playing games with them, or taking a daily, family morning walk.

When you have a list of cleaning and organizing projects to accomplish, you want to have dedicated time on the schedule to accomplish those jobs. If you only have younger children, schedule these projects at nap time. If you have older and younger children, put one older child in charge of occupying the little ones, and put the other older children to work on the project with you. You might be surprised how fast you move through that “to do” list with just one hour a day dedicated to projects.

With character issues to conquer, chores are your ally. Not only will there be improvement in the cleanliness and tidiness of your house, but your children develop qualities such as obedience, responsibility, diligence, thoroughness, timeliness, efficiency, and concentration.

If school work is a summer goal, whether to catch up from the previous year or get ahead on the upcoming one, schedule that time. As you construct your schedule, you will see places in it that are natural times for setting school work in front of the children, whether it is to quiet them down, give them a break from hot, outside activities, or to keep them occupied while you take a rest. 

No Regrets Summer

Many moms experience discouragement at the end of the summer not because of what they did but because of all they didn’t do. They anticipated those three months without normal homeschooling pressure and all they would accomplish, but somehow it just slipped away. When you set summer goals and then put together a schedule to execute them, summer ends with those goals achieved. Rather than discouragement, you experience the delight of looking back on your summer with the joy of a well-planned and well-executed summer.

Need help making a schedule? Managers of Their Homes is your tool. What about putting together a chore system? Managers of Their Chores can guide you with that.

Glory Bubble Anyone?

I wonder how many professing believers attempt life in Christ while in a “glory bubble”– not serving or reaching outside their church or family. Might you be in one? They are great for tasting the sweetness of the Lord, but that isn’t following Jesus. For the disciples, the time on the mountain during the transfiguration was wonderful, but then it was down the mountain and back to serving. Is part of the discipleship of your children helping them become followers of Christ through ministering and serving first in your family but then with you outside the family?

Jesus could have spent all of His time with the disciples in the wilderness teaching them about the Father and life in Him. He didn’t. They were with Him as He “… went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). Then later, when they were ready, the disciples were sent out by themselves.

How are you ministering and how frequently? Who are you sharing the love of Jesus with? Yes, we minister daily to our families but if we aren’t ministering beyond them, something is broken, and it will reproduce a dysfunctional spiritual life in them. Are you following Christ? What is your example, and how are your children serving along side you?

“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

Steve

Daily Bible Time Foundational for Families

Do you have a personal time in the Word daily? Do you also have family Bible time every day? If you spent a half hour each, that totals one hour a day in God’s Word. Why you are spending that much time reading the Bible? Might some think that is a little “over the top”? I’m confident that a lot today would think that extreme which is likely the reason why they don’t. 

Building Strong Lives in Christ

Aren’t we are in the Word because we value our God so much–the One Who died for our sins–that we want to spend that much time and more hearing what He wants to speak into our lives so that we can live it?  

“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

Who’s Greater?

Do you consider yourself a greater man than John the Baptist? “No way!” you say. “He was the Lord’s forerunner. Didn’t Jesus say that there was none greater than John the Baptist? Doesn’t that mean John was even greater than Moses and David?” 

You are right. That’s true, but let’s look further to the rest of the Lord’s statement: “… notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” 

Friend, are you saved? Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? If so, then you are part of the kingdom of heaven. 

We are greater because we have the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enables and empowers us to do what our Lord calls us to do. We can do whatever is His will. 

Brothers we have no excuses, and we are not victims. We are joint-heirs (Romans 8:17) and must be about the Master’s business (Luke 9:62).

“Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11). 

Steve

Clear Guidance

Have you observed a believer who claims to follow God’s will make a decision that you greatly wondered how that could be ever be God’s will? Or, maybe you are wrestling with a decision currently. Here are some thoughts.

Jesus gave a clear, unambiguous command concerning following Him in Matthew 16:24. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

If any man will come after me: would your desire, your love, your resolve, your delight be to follow Jesus? (Not begrudging or a legalistic “do I have to?”) Is the deep desire of your heart to please Him?

Deny himself: forget yourself, your interests and desires. This can be summarized as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The flesh desires pleasure, fun, ease, attention, money, power, and gratification. Jesus’ will is guaranteed to go against the cry of our flesh. Otherwise we wouldn’t have to deny ourselves. I have to wonder if what is often claimed to be “God’s will” might be self-gratification.

Take up his cross: it will (or is assumed to) be painful for not only the flesh but the soul. Jesus’ greatest suffering was taking on our sins, which exceeded His physical suffering.

Another test might be to observe what the world thinks about your choice. If it is popular with the world, you can expect it not to be Jesus’ will. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

Steve

If Only

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if being godly parents guaranteed godly children? I believe that most Christian parents consider themselves to be godly. Therefore, Christians go about their normal “godly” lives and expect their children to be godly, just like they are. 

Here’s an intriguing example illustrating the fallacy of our thinking that way. The very good king Hezekiah and the (believed-to-be) godly wife Hephzibah were responsible for bearing the most wicked king. Their son, Manasseh reined 55 years, the longest of all the kings.

I plead with you to make your most pressing focus—the cry of your heart—to be raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Don’t assume it will just happen.  

Brother, if that isn’t your lived-out passion, you are headed for a train-wreck of a heartbreak. Then it is too late. 

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 21:1-2). 

Steve

What Brings You Joy?

“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:5-7).

Is what brings you joy worth Christ dying for?