Category Archives: Seriously

Character/Spiritual Link Discovered

In1869 Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher discovered DNA. DNA is God’s unique “blueprint” for each of us. It determines what we will look like – what color eyes and hair we have, our height, our skin tone. Did you know that we have a “character and spiritual DNA,” too? You can get a pretty good picture of a person’s character and spiritual “DNA” simply by studying his choices. Those who are near us and can observe our decisions get a good idea of our true character and spiritual makeup.

A few examples:

  • Choosing to spend time with the Lord every day in His Word because we delight in Jesus
  • Choosing to lead family Bible time every day because we want to give the family a love for God’s Word
  • Choosing to invest time in things that have eternal value because our time on earth is short
  • Choosing to team up with our wives to put the children to bed because she works hard all day
  • Choosing to get her something she needs to show her our love
  • Choosing to make the bed sometimes because she is usually the one to do it
  • Choosing to actively disciple our children because we have the spiritual responsibility for them

or

  • Choosing to cater to our own wants and needs because we love ourselves more than we love our wives, our children, or others.

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18).

Steve

Huh?

As I was getting out of the elevator on my way back to our hotel room, a member of the hotel staff asked me a question. I couldn’t understand him and asked him to please repeat. He made another attempt, this time slower and with greater emphasis. I still didn’t understand him and asked if he would please repeat it again to me. He did, and I didn’t.

So he tried using one word as a question: “Checkout?” To that I replied, “Yes.” He smiled and we both went our ways. As I walked down the hall, I heard him dialoging in his native language with the housekeeping staff.

I thought about how important it is that we speak the language of those we are called to serve. I wondered how different our level of communication might have been if that fellow spoke English all the time instead of his native tongue. If they constantly spoke English among themselves is it possible they would be better equipped when speaking with the majority of their customers.

I then thought about my role as a father. I am so grateful for the weekly time I spend with each of my children on Sundays. I treasure the one-on-one time when we meet to discuss any problems they might have with me or with others in the family. We also discuss any other topic that is on their hearts. As a result of those meetings, we know each other well and can communicate on a deep level. I treasure my ability to speak on a heart level daily with those in my family.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Can you speak the language of those you are called to serve? It takes effort to (re)learn to speak their language.

Steve

Stop the Pollution, Please

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

I received a comment protesting our Memorial Day blog post because in it we mentioned the babies who have been aborted. In the post, we mentioned the babies after honoring our fallen military men.
“O, please God, help us!” May we be a broken and praying people over what is happening in our country to innocent babies whose blood is covering our land. Let that weigh more heavily on our hearts than the exact definition of a holiday.

“And shed innocent blood, Even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, Whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: And the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:38).

Steve

Bondage

Driving into our town on a four-lane road, we passed a police car with a prisoner in the back seat cage – like a wild animal in captivity. He was being transported to the state prison, which would be his home for some period of time. How sad.

Many on the “outside” are prisoners, too. They have lost their freedom and are bound to something. I was a 20-year-old in the Air Force stationed in Thailand and made $144 a month. That isn’t much at all even though my room and board were provided. I was a prisoner held hostage by cigarettes. I didn’t even have enough money to support my own habit each month.

Eventually, I came to realize that I was a prisoner. I was not free to be happy and enjoy myself if I didn’t have cigarettes with me. One of the smarter decisions I have made was that I would not be bound by that habit. I determined to break free and was able to do so. Even after I quit smoking, it took five years to be fully free of the desire to smoke. But I am so grateful to be free!

Are you a prisoner bound to something—something in the flesh or in the mind? If so, please seek freedom. Many are slaves to Internet passions that destroy their minds and their families. Others who are not willing to be honest with themselves are bound by some habit, some impure interest, some substance, some ungodly relationship….

The good news is that, if you are saved, the power of the Holy Spirit will enable you to be free. But you must begin the process by choosing it. Will you fly and be free?

“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).

Steve

If Only …

We dads have many responsibilities that require our time. Too often, however, we let important needs such as discipling our children, spending time with our wife, and leading family Bible time get crowded out by less important, though seemingly more urgent, tasks. We soothe our conscience by telling ourselves, “If only I had more time….”

My own dad was full of “if only’s.” He is gone now, and I am left with memories that would have been much happier and much better if only he had made other choices.

What sort of memories are we leaving our children? Yesterday is past, but tomorrow is a new day. Put off the old “if only’s” and put on the new “I will’s.” Then may we be men of action.

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

Steve

How’s Your Craving Being Satisfied?

Respect is something we men crave.

Being respectable means striving to:

  • Meet my wife’s and children’s emotional and physical needs
  • Following through on my commitments
  • Guiding my family spiritually
  • Making right choices
  • Not being gross
  • Being diligent
  • Being kind

Impossible? Not when we are in Christ and willing to surrender.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

We are scheduling fall Energize conferences now. Hopefully, you can either host or attend one. Looking forward to meeting many of you. 

Steve

Worth Dying For…

Recently as we were dining at a Mexican restaurant, the owner was excited to tell us about a special dessert he had created. He said, “You’ll die for it.”

Now I admit that it was definitely a great dessert, but worth dying for? I think not. Over the years I have often heard the expression “you’ll die for it” or that this or that is “to die for.” It’s just an expression but it does pose a great question: What is so important to you that you would be willing to die in order to have or protect it?

Pause for a moment and reflect on whether there is anything you would pay the ultimate sacrifice for.

Next, ask yourself: What is so important that I would give my life for each day?

It is one thing to die and be gone but an entirely different matter to give each day of our life to something sacrificially. “I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you” (2 Corinthians 7:3).

Our answers to those questions reveal “who” we really are before God and others.

Rotten Fruit

Near us there is a small apple orchard that received no care for years—no pruning, no tilling, and no fertilizing. Ripe apples simply fell to the ground and rotted. Finally a new owner came in and has spent weeks pruning and restoring the orchard. This year or next should produce a beautiful harvest.

Think of your family as your orchard and your children as fruit. If you have neglected your “orchard,” it isn’t going to improve until you spend great amounts of time on it. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2).

If you have been lax in your responsibilities to disciple your children, the important point is to begin the restoration. Begin today to prune and till. It will be a more difficult job than if you had been faithful all along, but resolve today to be responsible with what God has given you.

Daily family Bible time, talking, praying, and worshipping together are necessary for discipling our children. Though we will not see the fruit of the new orchard owner’s labor for at least one or two seasons, the owner has done the right thing. Will you do the right thing with your orchard? May we be found faithful and may our orchards bear fruit well-pleasing to our Lord.

Steve

Someone Has To Do It!

Recently I met some young adults who work on their family farms after school and on Saturdays. They were delightful: good attitudes; highly motivated; great workers. Happy! They were a joy to work alongside of. They loved the Lord Jesus. They respected their parents. Overall, they were great “kids.” One of them exclaimed periodically throughout the day, “I love being outside and working like this.”

Even the farm owner’s sons were working hard. I complimented one of them on his cheerful attitude because he could have chosen to do other things. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Someone has to do it.” That is so true about much of the work in life. Someone has to earn money for the family’s needs. Someone has to perform maintenance on the house and car. Someone has to clean the house. Someone has to mow the yard. Someone has to school, disciple, and feed the children. Someone has to wash and fold the clothes. The list of opportunities to work for the family goes on and on.

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). “Dress” in the Hebrew means “to serve or work.” Man was put on this earth to serve and work. What is our attitude regarding work? So many people have disabilities and cannot work. Would we want to trade places with them?

What a blessing it is when we choose to embrace what needs to be done with a cheerful, grateful spirit and teach our children to do the same. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Steve

Just Imagine

Just imagine how you would feel walking into your son’s debt-free home for the first time? Most parents don’t know what it feels like to have their own home without a mortgage—much less how it feels for their children to truly own a home, debt-free, even before they are married. What a blessing it would be for your son to start out life without the burden of a 20- or 30-year mortgage.

Learn how you can help him.

It is attainable.

Start early.

See how.

Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son.

Will you?

Steve