Category Archives: General

Solid or Slack?

If your foot isn’t on the gas a millisecond after the traffic light has turned green, you are likely to hear horns behind you “encouraging” you to forward movement. Yet, we seem to be in a time of unprecedented, underwhelming forward movement of men for things that are worthwhile. Where are the Christ-led, responsible, diligent, dependable, hard working men?

Let there be travel for a football game, or early rise for deer hunting, and today’s man will be up at the crack of dawn. Yet, children are starving to death for men-of-God role models. These are men who are having their own Bible time to fellowship with their God early every day. They are men who couldn’t imagine not feeding their families the Word of God each evening. They are men who have a faith worth sharing and actually share it. 

Children need to see their dads as a solid example of life in Christ. Let us not be slack. Amen? “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 “land” is before us. God has given us children and a faith to share. Forward. 

Steve

How to Do Bible Time for Preschoolers

During the first day of our visit in their home, four-year-old Alice excitedly shared with us where she was in her personal Bible time and what she was learning. The next day, she showed us her set up: sitting in Dad’s living room chair, computer on a table beside it with an audio Bible CD in it, headphones, and her Bible in her lap. Since Alice was learning to read, she could follow the audio in her actual Bible. 

How to Start Your Child in the Bible

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). As Christian moms, we want to see our children place their faith in Jesus and grow up with a love for God’s Word. We desire that they would hide Scripture in their hearts. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). We hope they will use the Bible to direct their thoughts and actions. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). Did you know you can begin that process in your children’s preschool days? One way to do that is to schedule a daily, personal Bible time for them. 

What If She Can’t Read?

You might wonder how personal Bible time would be possible for preschoolers since generally they can’t read. One benefit of our modern technology is Scripture in audio form—no reading, just listening! Preschoolers can listen to Scripture via a computer, or other device such as a smart phone, iPad, or MP3 player. (Most know we encourage using technical devices as tools not toys for children, and this is a good example.) There are dramatized and undramatized audio Bibles available. The ones for devices are free. With ear phones, your child can listen while other things are going on that would be a distraction or to keep them from being a distraction.

There are many benefits that come from a preschooler’s personal Bible time. They begin to learn Scripture and are often quite enthusiastic about what they learn. Preschoolers also have that amazing ability to remember well what they hear. Our grandson, Joshua, memorized the book of Jonah when he was five years old in large measure from listening to it. 

Bible Time as a Child Creates a Good Habit

Preschool, personal Bible time is the beginning of a daily Bible time habit, something we would like to send our children into adulthood with. Whatever is habitual is easier to accomplish than something you have to decide each day if you will or will not do. How many of you yearn for daily Bible time but struggle to make it a reality? What if you had been given a daily Bible time habit when you were growing up?

During preschool Bible time, your child is productively occupied for the amount of time you designate for it, perhaps fifteen to thirty minutes. That allows you to accomplish something you couldn’t do when they need your more focused attention and oversight. 

Could I encourage you to begin your preschoolers on their own personal Bible time? It will take a bit of thinking on your part. When is that time best scheduled? On what will they listen to the Bible? Where will they have their Bible time? Do they need headphones? Once those questions are answered and implemented, you begin filling your children’s minds with God’s Word, perhaps the greatest gift you could possibly give them. Plus you develop a life long habit of personal Bible reading that continually grows and nurtures a real relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Church

Dads often share with me their struggles in finding a church that is compatible with God’s leading for their family in doctrine and life practice. I would be grateful to learn from you the following:

  • What Scriptures have guided you in finding a place to worship?
  • What were your decision criteria and did you compromise?
  • What was the process you followed?
  • What positive and/or negative experiences have you had in relation to your children and church? 
  • What have you learned and how has that influenced you?
  • How would you rate your current church? (On a scale of 1 to 10 (best)) Please include a comment as to why you rated it that way.

Feel free to answer as many or few points as you would like to. Thank you and I look forward to reading your emails. 

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Steve

Where Is It?

One thing I have learned about men is that at the end of the day, a man will have done or worked on what is most important to him. Food is the best example. Eating usually ranks near the top for most men, and I’m confident few go without food in a day, regardless of how busy they are. 

I plead with you to make your personal time with the Lord your first priority and next, your family Bible time. Our response (or reaction) to everything we face in life will depend on the closeness/quality of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Whether your family is unstable or in the “strong tower” (Proverbs 18:10) greatly depends on your walk. (It’s a good thing our salvation doesn’t depend on our works, or who could be saved?) 

Dads, seek Him, delight in Him, and obey Him—all day, everyday. Where is your treasure: in this life or the Lord Jesus? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” (Luke 12:34-35).

Steve

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