Arrived or A-Drift?

Teri and I were checking out at Sams when I asked the checker about where she was going to spend eternity. She responded that it would be heaven because of her Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. As we talked it was evident that she was truly saved, and her speech carried with it an excitement and love for the Lord Jesus.

I then asked her a question that I try to ask everyone who professes Jesus as their Savior. I asked her if she read her Bible every day. The conversation then took a turn that surprised Teri and me. She said how she has been in church since she was a child and heard every sermon there was to hear. Without directly saying it, she was saying that she didn’t feel she needed to read the Bible every day.

I encouraged her that just like physical food we need to daily partake of spiritual food. That is why God gave us His Word so that we could daily feed our souls. To our amazement, she became defensive about it even though my words were gentle and non-accusatory. By her response, it was evident she would not receive this form of “encouragement” so I let it drop and wished her a good day since we had finished paying. It is one thing for her to be convinced she would gain nothing from reading her Bible every day, but something entirely different in becoming defensive about it.

We are so blessed living in this country during this time to have the availability of God’s Word. May we never get to a point of thinking we have “arrived” and no longer need a daily time in our prayer closet with the Lord and His Word. It is so easy to be set a-drift following wrong doctrine and all manner of way of life, if we aren’t reading the Bible ourselves.

Each of us is filling our minds daily. The question is, “With what?” If her family is like the vast majority of professing believers, she is finding plenty of time for other things, most of which will not be beneficial for her family’s souls. May we be like the Bereans. “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few” (Acts 17:10-12).

24 thoughts on “Arrived or A-Drift?”

  1. May we all truly desire the true richness of His word and carefully guard ourselves from being drawn from His Word by the things of this world.
    2 Timothy 2:15
    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  2. AMEN! We all need to be in the Word! And also, when we are hearing a sermon, or being taught in some way, we need to filter the words through THE Word, to see if such things are so. Thanks for the encouragement to share our faith, and build our relationship with Christ.

  3. Mr. Maxwell,
    It’s always encouraging to hear of your ready witness for the Lord, such as in this case. That story is a special reminder to me not to be complacent in my personal devotion to the Lord. Thank you for the encouragement, and may God richly bless you and your family as you serve Him!

    Love in our Lord Jesus,

  4. This is so true. It’s only been in the last several months that I made digging in God’s word a daily occurance in my life!

    I am thankful for my fellow sisters in Christ who obeyed God’s Word, like you did for this Sam’s employee, and gave me a gracious rebuke for not obeying the Lord’s commands and reading my Bible every single day.

    The change in my life since I repented and devoted my mornings to studying my Bible has been PHENOMENAL! Praise the Lord!

  5. Thank you for sharing this. This is a good example of how dangerous it is for us not to examine ourselves daily to see that we are in the faith and to let our thinking be that of “we have arrived”.

    “Press on” should be our attitude, hungering and thirsting for the Word.

  6. I don’t doubt your sincere enthusiam or your concern to encourage this lady. But might I just – very gently – suggest that she may have become defensive because you were asking her some very personal questions while she was in her place of work, on work time? Perhaps this was her way of showing that she was not comfortable to have this discussion with you at a time and place not of her choosing (and when, possibly, extended conversations with a customer might have got her into trouble….) Shy or reserved people can find this kind of conversation a difficult one particularly in a public setting and when they are taken unprepared.

    I’m sure you would not have intended to embarrass her, but this was a personal question from a complete stranger in a very public space where she could not walk away or easily turn the conversation if she didn’t agree with your point of view. I wonder whether you might think how she experienced that conversation – It may be that you put her in an uncomfortable position. Sometimes people become defensive when they feel in some way embarrassed or in an awkward situation.

    I hope you won’t mind my expressing a different point of view. I am English and our Christian culture is very different.


    Thank you for sharing. Certainly, people can be overbearing and rude as they share Christ. I believe it is always important to be gentle and loving as we seek to win the lost who are headed for hell.
    Certainly, there was some detail not included in my post that would help you better understand. First, you should have seen how her face brightened and heard how loudly and with enthusiasm she began sharing about the Lord Jesus. Those that were around us could likely have heard her when she was loud, but I doubt they heard me when I asked about her reading the Bible. You probably don’t have a Sams in your country, but here there is enough noise that it is unlikely, but possible, others heard. It was obvious she had no embarrassment in proclaiming she was a child of the King, but I do agree that she might have been at my question about her reading the Bible.
    I would never want to publicly embarrass someone, but honestly, I’m very willing for them to be uncomfortable if they are making a choice that will hurt them spiritually. I truly desire to be used as an instrument in the hands of the Lord Jesus for accomplishing His work in other’s lives. Seldom will God’s people, doing God’s work be popular with those who are making bad choices. But as I believe you are encouraging, we must always be about His business with a gentle and non-judgmental spirit.
    Thank you for that encouragement and God bless.

  7. How very true it is, that we must stay close to the Lord Jesus Christ. God has given us his Word so we may do so. If we are not in His Word daily we can easily be led astray.
    I have found out recently that the Bible School I went to about 16 years ago is now teaching their students that Genesis 1-11 is not literal, but rather poetic. You may as well throw out the whole Bible, if it is not literal. There are some very disturbing trends in the main stream churches today. If we do not know God’s Word, then how can we know His Will.

    God Bless,

  8. Steve
    Thank you for being so caring for a stranger, and her salvation! I am blessed to have recieved the packet from Titus 2 and read Managers of Their Homes. My life has changed more than I can express! Iam very busy mom of 11 children, who homeschools, manages her home, and I was not spending time with the Lord, everyday. Then your wife explained that God should get my first fruits of my day, and your RIGHT! I wake up at 5:20 am every morning for the last six weeks, and how my life has been blessed, every part. My children, my home, my husband, have noticed the difference. So please keep up the good work that you and your family are doing.

  9. Your ministry has been such a blessing to me. I attended one of your seminars and am trying to incorporate some of your ideas into our daily lives. I am a homeschooling Mom of 3 with a seemingly endless list of things to do, but my priorities in structuring my day have changed greatly because of you. I have recently bought some of your books, and I want you to know that your testimony is helping me grow as a Christian every day. I wanted to ask you for your advice on different translations of the Bible. In my Sunday School class, many people are using The Message Bible. Has there been some controversy surrounding this translation? It seems that there are so many choices out there, and I feel very uneducated about them. Is the King James Bible the best one to read? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.


    We use the KJV and felt the Lord’s leading to do so.  I’m sure the Lord will direct your family with something so important.

     In Christ Jesus,


  10. I’m very blessed by your site. But, I feel the need to respond to this.

    While I understand you concern for this young woman, I have to admit that I can see why she responded to you as she did. Most everyone hates to be admonished. Some are more sensative than others. I, for one, would have been humiliated to be admonished by a complete stranger in a public forum.

    This just seems to be such a personal question to ask a stranger. Perhaps the question was innocent but to admonish her further was rather bold.

    I’m not comfortable discussing my person business with anyone but my dearest friends. Yes, there are times when I need to be reminded to walk more closely with the Lord but those reminders need to come from someone who knows me well…not a stranger who is passing through.

    Lest you think I am speaking out of turn, please know that I asked DH for his response. DH says: “I hope (a Christian) reads the Bible daily. I also hope people wash their hands after they use the toilet. But, generally, it’s not a question I think I have a right to ask!)


    “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13

    Thank you for writing. From my experience in asking people I have found that it is only on an occasional basis that those professing faith in Jesus actually read their Bible every day. I believe that is why we see believers today that are weak, full of sin, and powerless.

    Because of the love and gentleness in which I ask, the majority have expressed gratefulness for my asking and encouraging. A few that I have had occasion to see multiple times, have told me they are now reading their Bibles. One checker at Sams didn’t have a Bible and said she would if she had one. I went back into the store and bought her one a nice one and she now reads it most days and says she appreciates me asking. Her life was filled with trouble and now she says how her walk with Jesus has been strengthened. 

    “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2

    Frankly, as I read Scripture, I see that we are called to exhort one another. If you will choose to do it with a spirit of great love and concern for those you are talking to, you will be amazed at the fruit you will see over time. It will take boldness, but our family has had such blessings as a result.

    “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32

    Your brother in Christ,


  11. Your ministry is such a blessing. This post reminded me so much of how we need to be a witness to others and be so concerned about their souls. Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder.

  12. My guess is that she was only defensive because she felt guilty. People try to find excuses for their behaviour when they know they should be doing something and aren’t.

  13. You, a stranger, embarrassed the check-out clerk with a deeply personal admonishment. I can’t understand the surprise you show at her defensiveness.


    “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

    You forget, I already established that I was not a stranger, but she was my sister in Christ. This exchange is an example why so many are hurting in the church. Their brothers and sisters in Christ won’t lovingly, and gently come alongside them and exhort them that they need the Word of God. I would not consider telling a person that only ate once a week (meaning they are starving), to eat daily, something negative. 

    I have no doubt that if you prayed and fasted over this idea, that the Lord Jesus would convict you it is something you should do as well. The greater your concern for the souls of others you will have to speak the truth in love. 

    In Christ Jesus,

  14. We will pray that the Lord will use your conversation with this sister in Christ to promt her to open the precious Word of God and grow more in Christ. We have found that often times people may get irritated, disagreeabe, or appear not to care what we are sharing with them…but then they go home and think about it….and often times come back to talk with us further. It gives us so much joy to see the Lord working in people’s hearts! We are encouragd by your faithfulness and boldness in sharing Him with others. We pray that you will contiue to be mightily used by Him!

  15. I was pondering on how you managed to have this conversation in such a short time-through a checkout. But then I realized, this is the Maxwell’s! I am sure they have quite the list and you would have time at the checkout to talk=) Another blessing of a large family! My husband and I are taking the Way of the Master’s course right now….and are being challenged and reminded to ‘redeem the time’.
    In Christ,

  16. Dear Steve,
    I must admit that I felt the same as some of the other responders when I first read this, but now have been convinced otherwise. God bless you for your boldness. My own Bible reading has really slipped away from me, and since reading this I have been exhorted to read it every day again, even if it is only a few verses I can committ to memory. Problem for me right now is being able to take in what I read.
    Anyway, again thank you!!
    Your sister in Christ,

  17. Sometimes I am at a loss as to where to go (which book, chapter, etc) when I read my Bible unless I am doing a Bible Study which tells me what to specifically read. When one is not using a devotional or Bible Study what is the best way to approach God’s Word? What is the Maxwell Family or individual Maxwell’s “reading plan”? I would appreciate you sharing. I seem to always gravitate towards the same verses on motherhood, being keepers at home, women, wives, etc…Every Bible I own has the same verses highlighted. I’m sure that I am missing out on some great truths, but I am drawn to parts of the Bible that apply to my role in life. Is that Okay?? Looking forward to your comments. Thank You.


    My heart’s desire is that our family spends most of our time in the New Testament. We do read the Old as well, but most of our time is spent in the New. Read the New Testament over and over. Start in Matthew and read slowly each day, highlighting key verses as you go. Continue through the whole New Testament. There are times when we might read one book over and over. We try to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading as He may direct us to a book we especially need. If you are reading slowly for understanding, by the time you finish the NT, starting in Matthew will seem new again.

    As we read we are looking for Jesus being revealed and how do we can apply what we are reading to our lives. Then in a year or so, after your understanding of the NT has reached a foundational point, the Lord may lead you to read the OT through. Then you will find things that will leap off the page to you. Fresh, exciting insights into God’s OT laws and Israel’s journy.

    Our family time keeps Scripture alive now matter what book we are reading. Mostly we read through the NT sequentially. The children’s insights and questions keep it so refreshing.

    Hope that helps.

    In Christ Jesus,



  18. Thank you so much Mr. Maxwell for taking the time to answer! I am very greatful for your input. I thought of your family when I was checking out my two large shopping carts at Sam’s Club today!
    May God be with you as you drive in those high winds to your conference tomorrow morning.
    It was nice to see your oldest son and daughter-in-law had joined you all
    ( I saw them in the family picture above).
    What a blessing and encouragement your family is. In the past year we have struggled with our 19 year old daughter becoming very Worldy. It is heart breaking for me. Your book Keeping our Children’s Hearts is like a window looking into how one can raise their children to love the Lord and not be lured in by the World.

  19. Thank you. You are an encouragement to me. My father has always loved God’s word, and taught us to read it daily. I can really see a difference in myself when I do not spend time in God’s word.
    In Christ, Nathanael

  20. I have a question, to piggy back on your response to Laura. My family is struggling on our end to incorporate Bible reading into our family life. We want to and we know we need to … that’s not the issue. It’s the “how to” that we’re trying to figure out. We’ve been seeking guidance, but it seems so many have different ideas on how things should be approached. One blog I read stressed the importance of reading the whole Bible, cover to cover and mentioned recently going through Leviticus with children. When questioned on the benefit the children received from reading geneologies, the reply was the verse, “All scripture is given by inspiration from God and is profitable …” We agree with the verse, of course, but our children are only 4 years old and 4 months old and we want to engage them and excite them about God. Another area with which we struggle is not always having the answers to our son’s questions. Have you ever felt inadequate in leading your children through the Bible or that you, yourself, first needed to learn more about the Bible/background/history, etc., before teaching your children?

    My husband is taking off of work so that we can attend your conference in Watertown, NY (a three-hour trip for us), and he is looking forward to your session on family devotions, but I’d love if we could start sooner than September. If you have any additional suggestions, we are very open to them. Thank you!


    We offer a “Feed My Sheep” two CD album resource that addresses how to from our perspective. The first CD covers the Scriptural basis as why we must and the implementation. The second CD is a recording of two of our family times in the Word.

    We know familyies who read Scripture to their young children, without having to act it out, and they have stayed engaged and attentive.

    I encourage families to have a good study Bible. Finding one was a frustration to me. I don’t have a lot of experience with study Bibles but finally settled on Thomas Nelson’s KJV Study Bible. I have been reasonably satisfied with that one. We purchased a Dr. Morris study Bible for Christopher and he has though most of the notes were good. 

    We will look forward to meeting you all in Watertown.

    God bless.

    In Christ Jesus,


  21. We as Christians should be opened to rebuke if we need it from fellow Christians. Iron sharpens iron. Sharpen me with the truth!!

  22. Steve, I agree that this comment may have made the young lady uncomfortable and I also agree with you that it is okay to be made to feel uncomfortable. Conviction is uncomfortable! I admire your willingness to openly witness. My question is this: How do I break out of my comfort zone??? Was there a time that you really struggled when it came to opening your mouth for the Lord? I have no problem talking to the saved about Him.

    I look back to when I wasn’t a Christian and I think about the Christians that I came in contact with. Some of them were fine Christian people, but almost none of them witnessed to me in the way that my lost soul desperately needed. I want to do different, but unfortunately, I’m doing basically what they did. Nothing. I’m waiting for some big moment that the Lord will fill my mouth with something brilliant. Why am I so scared? Help!!!


    How to break out of one’s comfort zone is the issue and a great question. It is a struggle for me to be overt, but I remind myself it is a command and if I truly care about others I will do it. For our family, that was the beginning. Next, having a plan helps greatly. That is where was very good for us. Christopher took the lead and God used him to help us get going with a workable plan. 

    It really helps to see that people aren’t offended with this way of witnessing. Then it is just a matter of practicing. We have found that telephone solicitors to be great for that. We have had many who were deeply touched and shared their sincere gratitude for havng been told plainly the gospel. Most we never talk to again, but one customer service rep told me she had received Jesus as her Savior that evening.

    We really like to use the good person test and Ray Comfort’s good person tracts. You will see it isn’t that difficult.

    In Christ Jesus,


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