Category Archives: Marriage

Playing with fire

I remember in my teenage years I referred to my smoking habit by saying, “I can quit anytime.” We often have inflated confidence that we can stop an addicting habit. Somehow it doesn’t seem so bad if an addiction is merely “a choice,” and we think we are in control. I’m guessing quite of few of you can relate because you were once a slave to smoking. 

Smoking is one thing, but drinking alcohol is in a whole different solar system. Smoking is now less socially acceptable, while drinking is widely accepted as long as it isn’t “excessive.” Even in many Christian circles, drinking in moderation is “fine.” But I challenge you to consider: Is it wise?

Seriously, have you ever heard of a husband abusing his wife or threatening to kill her while under the influence of tobacco? Alcohol undermines what self-control and inhibitions a person has. It clouds judgement and destroys relationships. It feels good and cries “give me more.” Alcohol destroys lives. Might it be similar to the fool who justifies drug use by saying, “Sure it can be addictive, but I only use it in moderation.” 

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1).

“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Proverbs 23:31-32).

If you are still not convinced, next week I will share why I decided to never drink alcohol even in moderation. 

Oh No

Teri was aware of our morning, wake-up alarm sounding, but I wasn’t stirring to turn it off. She hopped out of bed to turn the ceiling fan off. When she returned, I hadn’t yet rolled over to turn the alarm off and the light on, which would have been my norm. She waited a bit with the alarm now sounding its loudest. She decided she would gently try to wake me by patting my exposed arm. She touched my arm. Still, no movement and my arm felt cold! Could her worst fear be true?

Brothers, death is a part of life and inevitable. When one in a marriage is gone, memories remain. I understand that regrets tend to push their way in quickly. If only I’d have been more loving, patient, gentle, affirming—an endless list. 

Then there are those marriages where a spouse is broadsided when the other leaves declaring, “I’ve had enough. It’s over, and I’m not coming back.” 

Brothers, the best time to improve a marriage is now—not tomorrow. Invest in your wife, love her, in Christ lead her. Be dead to irritating things she does or doesn’t do. 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:25-28). 

Encouraging or Dampening

Walking around the convention hall one couldn’t miss the sparkle of sheer delight in many mom’s eyes. They were thrilled to be at a homeschool conference hearing about and seeing the tools of their trade. WIth all the things an average mother does in managing her home, these moms were special because they added homeschooling to an already full mommy’s plate of daily tasks. These were the elite of the elite, the “Navy Seals.” the “Green Berets” of moms in the trenches of raising children. They had not chosen the easy way of sending their children off to school. They were not just doing a job, but were delighting in it. The time Teri and I dialoged with them was energizing. 

There was another aspect that was so good for Teri and me, yet, heart-rending. Those were the stories that tore your heart in two – stories of hardship, struggles with children (with no easy answers), and of the tragedies of life. 

What broke my heart most were the dads who stood lifeless or like a wet blanket in response to their wife’s excitement. She turns to him with an excited, hopeful voice, “Honey look at this.” He replies with a flat, dull, indifferent tone, “Ya, I see it” or something negative. 

Dads, we are the blessed of the blessed of the blessed to have wives who will invest their lives to school our children. May we love them in word and deed, honor them, and thank them. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Please don’t forget that it takes a mother to be a father.

Straddling The Fence

Being double-minded is a curse. Besides being uncomfortable, it sets a horrible example for the children and makes it impossible for a wife to follow. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). (A modern-day example would be to substitute “the world” for “Baal.”)

Often a man thinks he can cherry-pick what he likes from both the world and the Lord, when in fact it doesn’t work that way. Neither a man’s wife nor his children and most importantly, His Lord are pleased. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

It begins with a choice. Choose to follow one, and put away the other. “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD” (Joshua 24:14).

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Put away double-mindedness. Be strong in the Lord, my Brothers. 

Next To My Salvation

I’m eternally grateful to Jesus Christ for His gift of salvation through His shed blood on the cross for my sins. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 Next, I’m eternally grateful for His gift of my precious wife of many years, Teri, mother to our eight children, and a 30-year homeschool veteran. When most today want the easy life, this woman invested her life in our family in obedience to her Lord Jesus. What a delight she is to me.

Moreover, there are countless women who look to Teri as their mentor and encourager. We hear from them as they share their gratitude for how her articles and Titus2 resources have benefited their walk with the Lord, their lives and helped them have more peace-filled and productive homes. Might your wife benefit as well? 

The Managers books (Homes, Chores, and Schools) are practical, giving long-term benefits: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit continues to be one of our most popular books. And finally, for ladies toward spiritual growth Sweet Journey and Sweet Relationships and specifically for wives, My Delight.

IT’s a Joy

I greatly appreciated how Teri never complained about changing baby’s diapers. It sure wasn’t my favorite task! Over the years, that sweet wife of mine easily changed a minimum of 5,000 diapers per child. Considering eight children, she likely changed well over 40,000 diapers! The same cheerful attitude was exhibited while fixing over 50,000 meals (47 years of marriage) for our family. 

What about us? Do we cheerfully fulfill our God-given responsibilities? Do we see them as acts of obedience to Almighty God? We are to cheerfully obey whether we are providing for the family, doing house and car upkeep, discipling the children, or leading the family spiritually. 

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). 

Our Own Enemy

When things go wrong, people want to blame someone. As an example, just a few hours ago I heard a casual acquaintance blame God for something. The reality is that usually we, ourselves, are to blame by making bad choices that lead to painful consequences. 

We can avoid much grief for our families if we will read and heed God’s Word. 

“Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” (Joshua 23:6).

“Be ye therefore very courageous” – Brothers be resolute, unwavering in your commitment to follow Christ. This isn’t about a mere preference.

“to keep” – Retain, treasure and mediate on His Word. 

“and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses,” – Praise God we have more than just the law of Moses. We have it all. Read, my Brothers. Love it, and live it. 

“that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” – Be narrow-minded when it comes to His Word. Inhale the Word, exhale in obedience. 

Brothers, know the Word, live it, and then there will be no reason to blame anyone. It doesn’t mean things will always be without difficulties, but there is peace in following the Savior. (Continued)

Here Is a Warning

Warning labels began being applied to poison substances in the mid 1800’s and without doubt have saved many lives. Ingesting harmful substances can cause longterm health repercussions and even prove deadly. We knew a family whose son had his throat seriously burned by drinking out of a cup that appeared clean but once had lye in it. It was a rough road for him for a long time. 

My Brothers, none will argue that ingesting sewage is harmful, and there’s been no argument to my warning regarding moral sewage in previous Seriously articles. What your eyes, the windows to your soul, dine on have great impact on your soul and resulting spiritual walk. 

Don’t you wonder how many dads have a poor relationship with the Lord due to their optical “malnutrition.” They have never experienced a close “sweet” walk with the Savior. They haven’t hungered and feasted on His Word because their appetite is poisoned. Sadly, they don’t even know what they are missing. 

“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness” (Luke 11:34-35).

“Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

Savory Sewage

Living in Florida I remember being fascinated any time I heard about a sinkhole event occurring, sort of like a modern Korah, Dathan, and Abiram moment (Numbers 16). Likely that single event of Numbers would hold the all-time, world record for sinkhole devastation. 

There is a costly, modern day sinkhole of another sort that impacts many (most?) men today. Sadly, few recognize the longterm consequences. However, I’m confident there is a horrific “cost” to God’s kingdom due to all the hours it sucks out of men’s lives and the negative impact to their souls. What is it? It is the news, and man’s insatiable “need” to be informed about every illegal, disastrous, scandalous, juicy, gory, and immoral event that the networks can find to keep their ratings up. 

Do I hear cries of “Heresy!” “Outrageous” “Insanity!”? Please extend me a bit of grace. Consider what the result of mentally “ingesting” the list from above? What profit is there? Does it build you up in Christ? Does it enrich your life or foster love, joy, or peace? Do you have a far greater hunger to read God’s Word as a family than you do to listen to or read the news? How many families are starved for the Bread of Life, while Dad is feasting on the sewage of the world?

Since it is a shame to speak of the works of darkness, it is certainly not good to listen or read them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12). 

My Brothers, Scripture tells us what we are to feed on. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). 

Playing With Fire

It was a hot day during summer vacation. My buddy Jack and I were taking the shortcut home across the vacant lot. I glanced back at Jack, and to my horror, he was tossing lit matches over his shoulder. Why? He was Jack. By the time we got the grass fire stomped out, our tennis shoe soles were severely melted. 

I wonder how many professing Christian dads reading this are playing with fire. You might lose your wife, your children, your home, and even your job. Maybe you aren’t tossing matches over your shoulder, but those compliments to other women, or special movies or “racey” TV shows (I’m confident that some of today’s commercials would have caused Job to cover his eyes), spicy Youtube videos you watch or books you read may be lighting a little fire of a different sort. Could you be saying, “Doin no harm. I can handle it.”? 

Consider Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. God appeared to him and warned him. Still he ruined his life and tore up the nation because he wouldn’t obey his God Who told him to not take foreign wives. “For it came to pass, 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, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4). 

Might you and I do well to steer way clear of s*xual temptation? Its power is so strong, we won’t overcome it. We must run from it. 

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).