Category Archives: General

Gambler, Gamer or Discipler?

My heart goes out to the hopeful, wanna-be millionaire who just spent his money that could have had much better uses than on a million to one chance. His hope, and anticipation, suddenly shredded, is replaced by disappointment. “Oh well, next time, surely next time.”

I wonder if many a Christian dad isn’t actually a gambler at heart. Instead of throwing away $5 a week, he’s wagering something of immeasurable, okay eternal value – his children. He’s hopeful his children will turn out well. At least then they won’t be a lifelong burden for him. Of course, he believes he loves them, but what influence he has, is likely negative. He sows seeds of worldly appetites via double-mindedness that will yield a harvest of bad habits and a dismal life in Christ, at best. 

I implore you. Examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). Don’t be like that dad I just mentioned. Don’t be average. Don’t base your self-approval rating by comparing yourself to today’s Christian dads. Jesus is to be our Lord, and Scripture our admonishment. Pour out your life into serving your Lord and discipling your children. 

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Steve

Soldier, or Defector?

God’s Soldier:

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).

Defector:

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

Posted in: General

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

Good Intentions Don’t Count

Have you noticed the explanations that come after a problem or disobedience often concentrate on the person’s wonderful intentions? Young or old, the perpetrator will reveal the most altruistic motives for having done it. Good intentions don’t count. The question is: What did we actually do?

Scripture is very clear on a myriad of commands. God calls us to obey Him, and when we don’t, there are consequences. May we dads set the example of obeying our Lord in all He commands us. A great summary is: May we live to please our Lord and fear grieving Him.

Uzzah loved the Lord as evidenced by his desire to not see the ark damaged by falling off the cart. Yet, despite his good intentions, disobedience cost him his life.

Steve

“And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” (2 Samuel 6:6–7). 

Speed Bump, Detour, Dead End, or Catapult?

Life can turn upside down in an instant. An accident, a cancer diagnosis, or _______.  We face obstacles in life. Some are easy, some difficult, and some “impossible.” Our response to these will greatly affect our children’s view of God, because it represents how real our faith in God actually is. Paul said follow me even as I also follow Christ. 

I’m thinking of one Brother whose life is ebbing, drip-by-drip, as a bucket with a leak. He requires constant care and suffers greatly.

Another Sister has been through unimaginable health trauma. Her testimony declares the glory of a righteous and merciful God.

May we embrace difficulties that come our way. May we see them as opportunities for God to grow our faith in Him.  May we consider that the mighty work God most desires is not the joy from flattening the obstacle, but unshakable faith in Him.  

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Steve

Tick, Tick

We spend our limited resource of time each day. Will it be for things that are in accordance with the will of our Lord Jesus or for our flesh? What we redeem our time for, we will lay at the feet of our Lord one day.

Our bodies are also a limited resource that are being spent day-by-day, week-by-week, and year-by-year. Will we spend our bodies for the Lord or do we misuse them? God did not design our bodies to grow roots into a couch.

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:1-3).

Steve

More Mature Than Your Children?

Are you more mature than your children?

Obedience

Consider this. You ask your child to do something he doesn’t want to do, and he responds with a sigh, verbal complaint, or non-compliance. I doubt that is the response you want. I know a smile along with, “Yes, Mom, I’d be happy to” is what delights your heart.

Now think about your response to the hard things the Lord asks you to do (or maybe they aren’t even so difficult, just not to your liking), especially areas of daily life and mothering. Jesus wants you to respond to your child’s bad attitude with a meek and quiet spirit. Is that what you do, or do you sigh inside and complain to the Lord about how tired you are of your child’s bad attitudes, how much time it takes to correct him, and how you sure wish he would change? Do you have a tone in your voice when you correct the child? Perhaps you raise your voice at him, or simply ignore it?

Do we want our children to obey us, and yet we fail at obeying Him? “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Are we more mature than our children?

Repentance

Would it make a difference to you if that scenario with your child happens, and five minutes later he comes to you saying, “Mommy, my attitude was wrong. Please forgive me. I will happily do what you asked me to do.” Might that response knock you over? Would it change your thoughts about the child’s bad attitude?

Do you repent when you fail? Perhaps you think repenting doesn’t matter that much, or your wrong responses happen often so you ignore the repenting part and just try a little harder. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

If our children’s repentance brings us joy, what does our repentance do to our heavenly Father? If our children don’t repent over their wrong childish behavior, and we don’t repent over our wrong adult behavior, are we really more mature than our children?

Diligence

Are you frustrated with a child who doesn’t have initiative? One that you have to remind all the time to do what he is supposed to do? Perhaps he starts on a task but doesn’t finish it.

What about you? When you have a free moment, do you do something productive or feel like you deserve a break? Do you have a schedule but choose not to follow it? Do you allow your devices to distract you from the job you are involved in doing? Would God view you as His child who wants to hurry away from responsibility, has to be reminded to do what needs to be done, and is pulled away to her own interests or His faithful servant, diligent and happy to do more? “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

If we don’t do what we should do, when we should do it, are we more mature than our children?

More Mature

Perhaps as we consider our failures, we will have more patience and compassion working with our children. That doesn’t mean we let down the bar, but it does mean we consistently and sweetly encourage them along the right path.

When we feel frustrated with our children’s lack of maturity, it reminds us to obey the Lord, repent of our sin, and be His diligent servants.

If you’d like encouragement in this area of a meek and quiet spirit, I suggest you read Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. I wrote it when I was a mom in the trenches, with five young ones, including an epic dawdler. Whew! Some ladies share that they read this book at the beginning of each school year!

What Does Freedom Mean?

To some:

  • They can do or say anything they want, and no one can tell them “No.” 
  • They are not a slave to anything or anyone. 
  • _________ (fill in the blank).

It is surprising to me that many take freedom in Christ to mean they can do anything they want that isn’t sin. They have added Jesus to their lives. He’s in their pocket. They have no worries about hell and can now enjoy the good life.

Sadly, that mindset ignores the truth that Jesus purchased us with His blood that He might live in and through us so that we would be a peculiar people, a holy nation. We don’t add Jesus to our lives. wW are to become lost in His. We have been freed from the tyranny of sin, to be bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ.     

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

Steve

Disdaining Danger or Embracing it?

We are evaluating forbidden fruit versus things to teach self-control.

In the garden, when God wanted man to learn to obey Him and choose right from wrong, He used the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by forbidding it.

God didn’t use the trees’s fruit to teach moderation/self-control. He didn’t say:

  • Eat only the good fruit.
  • Eat only a little fruit.
  • Eat it on Sundays.

God said, don’t eat!  Eating from that tree in the Garden meant death.

I want my children to completely avoid directly sinful things and I expect that is your desire for your children as well. However, in addition, I want my children to have a disdain for things that easily lead to destructive things. Are you still with me? 

“And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house” (Judges 8:27). The ephod that Gideon made likely wasn’t directly sinful at first. However, it soon became a snare to Gideon and his family.

The less like the world your family is, the more dangerous TV and movies are in pulling their hearts to the world.

What about you? What are your goals for your children?

Steve

Are You Slack?

Discipling children in the Lord, the Savior of their souls, is THE critical aspect in raising children. Dad owns this responsibility before the Lord. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Family Bible time every day is critical to nurturing a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the feeding of a soul, producing fertile ground for the Spirit of God to work. If Dad is slack in his responsibilities to gain ground in the hearts of his children, you can be sure the enemy will use it to his advantage. 

“And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?”(Joshua 18:3). 

The reason I warned a couple weeks ago about TV and movies is they are a sure way to give ground in the hearts of your family to the enemy. When given a choice, a child will likely choose the world’s entertainment over God’s Word. Why not eliminate the world’s entertainment and draw their hearts to God’s Word?

Steve