Category Archives: General

What’s the Purpose?

Have you ever been at someone’s house and seen a magazine on the table about quilting or cooking? Did you excitedly pick it up and start reading it? No? Why not? Oh, right, because you had no interest in it. Of course! It’s true! We don’t spend time on things in which we have no interest or to which we have no heart attachment. We spend our voluntary time on those things that have a piece of our hearts.

Are you drawn to the news? Have you ever asked yourself why? It robs a husband of time with his wife, delays getting in bed, and will not build our peace of mind and joy. So, then, why waste one’s time on the news? Maybe one watches it to know how to pray. But, honestly, how many really pray about what they hear?

Why waste our time listening to those who make their living getting people all “hyped up”? Could there be a better use of our time? Have you ever considered the benefits of a 60-day news fast?

“For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:12).

Steve

What Could Be Worse than Ebola?

It seems like the concern over Ebola is waning a bit. Many were very fearful of its coming to the States, and an outbreak would be terrible for sure. What would you think if I said there is something on par with Ebola in many professing Christian homes? What is it? Anger. Anger kills relationships and is highly contagious.

“Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul” (Proverbs 22:24-25). The relationships in a home are far stronger than friendship, and our anger will be strongly, deeply impressed on the souls of our family members and yield devastating consequences.

I recall one dad who talked about how bad his anger was and acknowledged it had an impact on his 18-year-old son’s not being saved. This man’s anger was a key factor in his son’s rejecting both him and Christ, and yet he referred to his anger in a fairly casual way, much as someone would who had given someone his cold. If you want to drive your children away from you—and possibly away from the Lord: be angry.

I wonder if there is any other sin—that’s right sinthat is so widely justified. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Would your family say you get angry? Would they describe you as an angry man? If so, isn’t it time to forsake it before there are casualties?

Steve

 

Who’s To Blame?

I was in junior high when my parents divorced. I was devastated and turned to food. Thus began my lifelong love and struggle with food. In college I found exercise, which was a great way to cover up the effects of eating more than my body required.

What you just read was an excuse—if I take the past and use it as an excuse for my failures today. I have met so many through the years who have waved a similar flag of justifying current problems by pointing to other past actions.

Praise God that as a believer in Jesus Christ I don’t have to be a prisoner of my past. My old life and habits are nailed to the cross. (I had also bitten my nails for over 50 years. Yeah. Not anymore.) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

As recently as last year, whenever I discussed my slowly climbing weight with someone, I would say it was because of injuries and my inability to exercise, when in reality I was not eating in moderation. Of course, it doesn’t help that I have multiple great cooks in the house. (Did you notice that I just did it again?)

For two years we have had a mealtime memory verse, which we will stick with until it becomes a reality in my life: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). One reason people say they appreciate Titus 2 is that Teri and I are real in sharing our struggles. Please note that there is a difference between justifying a struggle and sharing a struggle and moving to grow.

Isn’t it about time I lived out 1 Corinthians 9:27 in regard to my eating? What bad habits does the Lord want to conquer in your life? Are you making excuses for them?

Steve

Going Forward

Seriously is for men who are serious about their walk with the Lord Jesus and their roles leading their families in Christ Jesus. It is also for men who aren’t there yet, but want to be (“Lord, help my unbelief”).

If Seriously has been good for you, why not recommend it to brothers in Christ whom you feel could benefit from the weekly challenge? Then, after they sign up, consider discussing the articles with them. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Look back in your life to those God has used to challenge you to a closer walk with the Lord Jesus. Might it be time for the Lord to use you in someone else’s life?

Steve

Don’t forget the Seriously fast this Saturday January 17th.

Are You In?

“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” Psalm 66:16

Our first fast in November was highly successful with a large number of dads participating with very positive feedback. This is not for spectators! If you will fast all day Saturday, January 17th, I will come alongside you to fast and pray for you. There were enough men last time that it took most of the day to spend quality prayer time for each dad’s request. I loved it. I felt such a burden and heart-connect with each of you who fasted! What a blessing it was and then afterward to read the feedback from the men.

A number of men asked for the fast to be on a Saturday so they could have more prayer time. So the 17th is the day. If you will fast from food and caloric drinks from Friday bedtime to Sunday morning, sign up. Meet you at our Saviour’s glorious throne of grace and mercy!

Steve

Its Relative

We had quite a cold snap move through the area and drop temperatures much lower than everyone is used to. We tend to shiver and shake while the colder temps hang around. Then it warms up to what we considered cold before and, to our surprise, what was once uncomfortable, actually feels fine. It’s amazing how quickly humans tend to acclimate to extreme swings.

Sadly, we all too easily can adjust to spiritually unhealthy “things” that come into our lives. We might be exposed to worldly music, movies, ads, or commercials with visual entrapment, lewd clothing, or inappropriate behavior or language long enough that we adjust to accept it as the new normal. Compromise works in small steps that move us in an undesirable direction. It takes great effort to guard our walk in Christ Jesus. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Satan’s strategy is to wear us down through compromise. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High…” (Daniel 7:25).

Steve

Job Opening – Omniscience Required

Can you imagine how difficult a job it is to forecast one’s life?

What will the family’s finances be like 5, 10, 15 years from now – maybe good, okay, or bad?

How much time will Dad have to work to feed the family?

What will their home be like over the same period – too small, just right, or lots of room?

What will Dad’s and Mom’s health be like?

What will the health be of their current children?

Is it possible a child might be lost?

Will Dad and Mom be happy with their children, want more, or wish for less?

Might God plan to use child-induced challenges to develop Christ-likeness in Dad and Mom and a dependence on God?

Could it possibly be that there is no earthly way parents can answer those questions and adequately plan when and how many children to have?

Could it be that is why God never told parents to decide?

“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1).

Might this area of life require us to trust our loving omniscient, Father?

Joseph and Mary didn’t “plan” their family. Aren’t we glad?

Merry Christmas,

Steve

Are You Whining or Worshipping?

When the “children” were singing for residents at a nursing home, there was one woman who was a total invalid. She was all curled up in a ball in her bed-style wheel chair and covered with a blanket. She couldn’t move herself and was in constant pain. One foot with a well worn blue striped sock stuck out from under the edge of the blanket. I was brought to tears as I watched her worship the God of creation. Her foot danced before the Lord more beautifully than anything I’ve ever witnessed as it was choreagraphed to the music. I saw her spirit dance in worship of Almighty God even though her body was broken. She could have been bitter over her circumstances, but instead she worshipped.

Are you worshipping your God or complaining? May we lead our families in worshipping, regardless of our circumstances.

“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:20-22).

Steve

I Didn’t Trust God

During a recent road trip, my son John began driving early while I was waking up. I thought I would spend some time praying, so I prayed, “Lord, teach me to pray.” Almost the second I prayed that, I was flooded with the concern What if the Lord allows serious things into my life so as to teach me to pray? I felt myself rescinding that prayer about as quickly as I had prayed it. Then, to my shame, the Lord revealed to me that I didn’t trust Him. That was shocking and very disappointing to me.

I didn’t trust Him completely with my life and that He would accomplish His best. When I joined the others up front I shared my new insight with them. It was nothing to be proud of, for sure, but it was so good that God revealed it to me. Over the next few days, I prayed that God would “help my unbelief,” and He did. I was able to pray, “Lord, teach me to pray using whatever means You think best.” I can tell you that, to my joy and delight, He is teaching me to pray.

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).

Steve

What is Your Level of Confidence?

My heart breaks when I receive e-mails from dads who are in crisis mode. Often, the appearance is that these crises involve problems that likely could have been averted if Dad would rightly lead his family.

I have been sharing Seriously articles with you since March. The feedback has been that they are on target in challenging men as they lead their families. My goal is to keep them short so you will read them. I pray I have earned a level of confidence through what you have been reading in Seriously.

There is so much on my heart that I want you to know so that your family could avoid future heartbreak. I have already written much concerning this in four key books: Keeping Our Children’s Hearts, Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family, Redeeming the Time, and Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son.

Will you allow me to get even more serious with you for a moment? I’m encouraging each one of you to check with your wife and see which of those books you already have. Then order the ones you don’t have, and systematically read them. We have audio versions available for two of them if you struggle with reading time, but please read them all.  Be men of action and lead. If you are committed to reading all four, e-mail me so I can pray for you.

Steve

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).