Category Archives: Seriously

Reserved

When you see a parking space right next to a business entrance labeled “Reserved for CEO” what do you think? 1) Nothing. 2) He’s top dog and deserves it. 3) Hopefully, that is yours one day. It is common practice when you reach the top of a company there are perks that go with the job.

Sadly, it is often mirrored in homes, and sadder yet, in professing Christian homes. Dad is the authority and he gets/requires the perks that go with it. He goes to bed when he wants to. He has his special treats. He watches/does what he wants to and others do the dishes. Ahhhhhh, what a life. 

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Are we living out Jesus to our family? Not putting on an act, but we have died to self, gotten out of the way so our family can see the Lord working through us? 

“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).

Power

I reached for my belt, hung in its normal place and lifted–it didn’t budge. I resisted my natural tendency to tighten my grip on the belt, bear-down, and give it a strong pull to free it. My mind overruled my initial response. The buckle was caught on the wireframe shelf, and more force would not have been beneficial. What was necessary was a gentle repositioning of the buckle, and it immediately came free. 

Men (okay, and definitely teenage boys) have this natural tendency that if something isn’t responding quite right, get a bigger hammer, and apply more force. Eventually, we learn, sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The times it doesn’t work so well is in human relationships. 

Applying more force to tender, developing hearts may achieve outward compliance for a time, but is a fast-track for creating mere outward compliance which covers up a rebellious heart. Dads: slow, gentle, loving guidance is critical for developing hearts in our children that desire to obey our God and us as parents (in the nurture and admonition of the Lord).

“And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die” (Genesis 33:13).

No Comparison

In front of you are three desserts to choose from, but one is your “absolute-crazy-over-the-top” favorite. You wouldn’t consider picking one of the other two choices even though each is beautiful, rich, sweet, and very popular. Why are you not tempted by the other choices? It is because your favorite dessert has preeminence.

Are you frustrated in your walk with the Lord because of your struggle with the pull of the world on your life? Do you have the head knowledge that Jesus is to be preeminent/first-place, but you are drawn to things of the world? Are they your “favorite,” rather than Jesus? (Sadly many more should be frustrated, but by repeatedly quenching the Spirit and lack of feeding on the Word, their consciences are seared, and there is no desire for more of Jesus.) 

My brothers, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). That verse doesn’t mean God will give us anything (the world) we want if we delight in the Lord. The reality is that when we delight in the Lord we don’t want the things of the world. Instead, this verse means that as the preeminent Lord Jesus is our joy and delight, He gives us more of Himself and what we need to obey Him. “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” (From hymn: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.)

What’s Your Bent?

Most have a tendency one way or another. These days I see men choosing self. The cry is “I’m free in Christ!” The example to their families (and others watching) is you can have Jesus in your pocket and live a selfish and fruitless life (translate fun). 

However, isn’t the better choice to serve one another in love—first our families and then those around us. Think about how that delights the Lord Jesus and our wives, and think of the example that is laid before our children.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). 

Steve

Will You Be Happy?

What is it that you love? Morning time in the Word, worship time with believers, time with your wife, your children, your job, the news, sports, TV, movies, or other forms of entertainment? 

Have you ever thought about the fact that what most people love (even professing believers), won’t be in Heaven. There are no big screen TV’s, no social media, no news, no movies, and no sports.

Heaven will be heaven because Jesus is there and we will have eternity to worship and praise the Lamb that was slain, Who was and Who is. 

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. … To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 5:12,13).

What Ya Sowing?

The white, Limited SUV pulls up in the home daycare’s driveway and parks. A professionally dressed woman steps out of the driver’s side, and two school-age girls pile out of the back seat. The girls race toward the front door. The winner grabs a short rope attached to a large antique “dinner bell” beside the door. Simultaneous to the loud clanging, the mother’s voice scolds,”I told you not to touch that bell.” The ringing continues along with childish laughter until the stronger, but slower girl successfully pushes the race winner aside. She now begins her turn ringing that bell loudly providing a tune accompanied to lyrics of: “Stop. I told you not to ring that bell. You are in trouble now.” Could this mom be harvesting the fruit in her children’s lives of others raising her children while she is otherwise occupied?

Raising children who love the Lord Jesus with all their heart, are well-behaved, and academically prepared for life is more than a full-time job. It takes Mom wisely using structured/scheduled time all day in teamwork with you (Dad). I am saddened as I learn of moms who aren’t disciplined and scheduled in managing their time. Your child’s future is at stake.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Don’t Be Disappointed

Those who have flown a fair amount likely have noticed something that has similitude worth considering in regard to parenting. Once airplanes take off, they are affected by the prevailing winds. If a headwind is encountered groundspeed will be lower, but if a wind from behind occurs, groundspeed will be boosted. 

It gets interesting when the wind is from either side, a crosswind. The direction the plane is heading must then be adjusted right or left to arrive at the desired destination. Many a disappointed pilot realized too late that he had not applied enough correction in route. 

Could that be like parents who are merely satisfied with outward conformance of their child’s behavior? There is a degree of obedience which looks like the child is heading in the right direction, but the child is hardened and merely avoiding consequences. He is “off-course” from the parents’ hearts and certainly not seeking to please the Lord Jesus.   

Parenting is hard, really hard, and that makes it tempting to settle for compliance. For the child’s future, always be looking at his heart. 

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,” (Proverbs 4:23). 

Steve

Is It Possible?

We just finished a project that could be a huge blessing to you.  We made our book Buying a House Debt-Free an audiobook

Few families can afford to buy their children homes as wedding gifts, but you CAN give them what’s next best—motivation and direction toward a debt-free house they buy before marriage. I guarantee you in the years to come, they will appreciate that home, and bless you for starting them down that path. All five of our sons have purchased homes debt-free, and yours can too. 

Jim Bob Duggar said every family ought to read Buying a House Debt Free. With the book in audio format, even busy dads, with little time to read, will benefit. 

Owning a home debt-free before marriage is more attainable than after marriage when financial obligations increase. That is why being debt-free is only a dream for many families. I plead with you, even if you can’t personally attain a debt-free house, you can give the gift of that vision to your children. “Read” Buying a House Debt-Free in the car while you are driving, and make windshield time beneficial. 

I loved recording this book. I forgot how much great practical information was in it. It is like Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family, my first book, Part 2, 3, and 4. There is also solid information about college, managing finances, and gaining practical skills. Dads, if you are too busy, ask your wife to get it and listen to it. Whether your children are young or late teens, your children will bless you. 

“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

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