Category Archives: Marriage

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

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

Ya Like Salt?

Do you have fond memories of what you left behind in the “good ole days?” “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).

Love of the sought after, popular things of this world is offensive to the Lord Jesus (Matthew 16:23). The cure isn’t just saying “no” to the appealing things of the world, but following Jesus wholeheartedly. Pursue a relationship with Him that makes the world look like dung.  “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). 

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). 

The sting of the world is bitter, but there are no regrets when we (and our family) unashamedly follow Jesus with everything we have. 

Steve

How Would You Rate?

If your wife rated you, how would you do?

My husband: 
– Decisively leads our family in pursuit of the Lord Jesus. 
– Makes decisions consistent with our children becoming dynamic followers of the Lord Jesus.
– Speaks of the Lord Jesus’ working in his life frequently with the family. 
– Makes decisions consistent with his owning the responsibility of the family’s spiritual direction.
– Makes decisions consistent with his owning the responsibility of the children’s behavior.
– Sets the example and inspires our children to be diligent workers as they prepare for the future.

“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27).

Steve

Guaranteed Cure for Too Busy

Do you struggle with time to:

  • Read your Bible daily in the morning
  • Have Family Bible time
  • Spend time with your wife
  • Spend time with your children
  • Increase the value of your vocational skills
  • Exercise

Someone screams, “The house is on fire. Get out!” Whatever you were too busy doing before, now means nothing. You have a new priority that produces action. Brother, your problem isn’t time but misplaced priorities. 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:33-34).

Steve

Man to Man

I’m confident that not one of you dads is reading weekly articles on being a great Christian mom. Even if you were interested in the subject, there is a good reason for you not to read them. Wouldn’t you be comparing your wife to what was being shared? In doing that, might it cause you to focus on her shortcomings and then be discontent with her? I believe the answers would be “yes” to those questions.  

Dad, if you have asked your wife to preview Seriously articles, please reconsider. Might you be creating in your wife unhealthy comparisons/expectations? Everyone is busy these days, and some with productive and edifying endeavors. If Seriously is edifying, embrace it, if not, why encumbereth the ground (take up room in your inbox)?  

(Moms, do you really believe reading these is good for your heart and your marriage?)  

“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25). 

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

Have You Told Them?

Are you saved? Do you know that you know (1 John 2:3) you are saved and will spend eternity with the Lord Jesus? I hope so. Does your family know you are a child of the King? Is it assumed, or have you told them your salvation experience? When is the last time you told them in detail about when you were saved? Do they know your account so well they can tell it back to you? Okay, why should that matter?

Next week we celebrate Christmas. What makes Christmas worthy of great celebration is that God sent His Son Jesus, God in Man, to this world to redeem us. What makes it real is when Dad and Mom tell the children how Jesus Christ changed them—what their life was before Christ and following. May there be no doubt in the children’s minds that Jesus Christ is real and changes lives.    

“We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done” (Psalms 78:4).

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

First Car

I am confident most of you remember the first car you owned. I don’t even have a photo of mine, but I can see that 57 Chevy clearly in my mind. Back then, I knew nothing about cars, but for some crazy reason, I got it into my head to change out the 6 cylinder automatic for a V8 and 4 speed. It was a great learning opportunity as I poured time, energy, and money into that car.

Having been junked, crushed, melted, and the metal reused, that car is likely a washing machine or something else today. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19). It is so easy to have our hearts pulled to the things that are not eternal.

The Lord has a command for us. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20). Most of our work is simply wood, hay, and stubble, but our wives and children are eternal investments worthy of pouring everything we have into.

I’m so blessed to be able to encourage dads who are serious and committed to their families. I am sure your wife is thankful for a husband like you. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Steve