Focus on the Family Broadcast

Children: A Heritage From the Lord

Children: A Heritage From the Lord

Pastor Michael Youssef offers insights on how parents can pass godly values on to their children by keeping God at the center of the home.

Original Air Date: October 20, 2009

Opening:

Excerpt:

Announcer: How important is family?

Boy: Very important.

Man: Can you tell me why?

Boy: If you didn’t have a family, you would die, ’cause you had … ’cause you need love to live.

End of Excerpt

John: Well, that’s an incredible insight from a little boy about the importance of family. And on today’s “Focus on the Family,” you’ll hear why family and honoring God within it is crucial to the health of a society. Your host is Focus president, Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim: John, that’s one of my most favorite clips that we’ve ever captured here at Focus on the Family. It’s from The Family Project DVD series. And we’re gonna hear more about that at the end of today’s show. But as we look at the family today, we have a classic message from Dr. Michael Youssef, who wants you to know what God can do for your family today.

John: Well, here’s Dr. Youssef at Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, addressing his congregation.

Body:

Michael: Now many times, of course, Christians are prone to taking a verse out of the Scripture and they take it out of context. And while it may be sounding great and you learn things from it, but you miss out on the great blessings in putting the text back in its context. And Psalm 127, verse 3 is really a good example of this, because before the Psalmist could ever say that the “children are the heritage of the Lord” and “heritage from the Lord,” he had to lay first the foundation for that statement. He could never have made that statement until he had said in verses 1 and 2, that “unless God builds the house (unless God builds the family), it is in vain the builders will work.” In other words, he’s saying, “Before you can say that the children are a heritage from the Lord, you must be able to say that unless the Lord builds the family, builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

Psalm 127 is one of very few Psalms that Solomon wrote—the son of King David. In fact, there are only two Psalms that are attributed to King Solomon—Psalm 127 and Psalm 72. This Psalm is one of them, one of two that only attributed to King Solomon.

But I want to tell you at the outset—listen carefully—this Psalm is an indictment and a rebuke to our segmented lifestyle. This Psalm is a condemnation for our divided allegiances and a lack of integration in our lives. What Solomon is saying in this Psalm is this: that if you leave God out of your life and out of your family’s life, it is useless that you would work hard in order to provide for your family. If you leave God out of your life and out of your family’s life, all the trinkets in the world will mean nothing. If you leave God out of your life and out of your family’s life, all the goodies that you are able to give them will mean nothing. If you leave God out of your family’s daily devotion and commitment, all the money in the world would only ruin them instead of helping them. If you leave God out of the center … being the center of your family, your family’s devotion and your family’s commitment, the inheritance that you leave them will turn out to be a curse and not a blessing. I remember when Royal Edward [sp?] often used to say that unless you leave your children spiritual assets, financial assets would ruin them. How true that is.

So, in the first stanza of Psalm 127, verses one and two, that’s the first stanza, Solomon is saying that we can live a frantic, self-absorbed, self-sufficient work ethic, but unless God is at the center of your family, your family will fall apart. A Western mind-set—listen carefully, please, because you’ve got to understand that particularly the Old Testament is not written for our Western mind-set, so for a Western mind-set, rightly you can ask the question and say, “Do you know, what does hard work have to do with my family, other than providing for them?” For most of us in the West, we have placed our families in a separate category from our work. In fact, we do that with all of our lives. We live a fragmented life. We separate the spiritual from the temporal. We separate God from our businesses. We separate work from family and we live that way in different compartments.

But in reality, anyone, the Bible said, who fears God, anyone who really loves God, anyone who really wants to honor God must live an integrated life–that’s [where] the word “integrity” comes from—is life that is so integrated. Here’s what I believe. Here’s how I live and the two must fit together so perfectly. What I believe impacts my business. What I believe impacts my family. What I believe impacts all of my life. That’s what the Psalmist is saying.

You see, in the Old Testament, a godly Jew—a godly Jewish man—does not understand this division. It … it’s alien to him. He doesn’t even comprehend it. He would say, look; why would you even build a house if it’s not for the family? Why would there be policemen and guards and watchmen in the city if they’re not guarding families?” The two are so integrated in their mind. That is why the Psalmist, Solomon, could write those words.

You see, the Bible is absolutely clear from beginning to end, that the family is the basic unit of society, that the family is the most important element in society, that the family is the backbone of society. Weaken the family and sooner or later, you’re gonna weaken society. Destroy the family and sooner or later, you’ll destroy society.

But the Psalmist is really saying more than this. Listen carefully. A lot of people are talking about families. Even there’s some prominent person [who] wrote a book, says “It takes a village.” (Laughter)

Listen to me. A godless village is gonna produce godless children. (Audience reaction) But only a godly village is gonna produce godly children. This might be popular. You see it on television. Children first and there’s so much focusing on the family, but the Psalmist is saying, “Not just focusing on the family, but it is where God fits in the family that really matters.” Unless God is at the center of the family, the family is adrift. He is saying that the basic family unit, unless God is at the very center of their lives, they are unsafe. They are unsecured.

What I want to do is look at this Psalm again under four headings. I just want to give you four points so that you remember about this Psalm–Psalm 127. And the points are these. When God is at the center of the family, God grows the family. Secondly, God blesses the family. Thirdly, God guides the family. Fourthly, God protects the family.

God grows the family. Look at verse one. Here’s what Solomon is saying, that when God builds the house, that means, when God is at the center of the home, when God is at the center of the family, the family lives in the house–the members of the household–will grow in maturity. When God’s wisdom that comes through the Word of God fills the house, maturity will be the insignia that is imprinted on the minds of all the members of the household of that family. When God’s presence fills the house, permeates the family, peace will fill the minds of the members of that family’s household. When God is sought in every decision that is made in the family, God’s grace is gonna grace the hearts and the minds and the spirit and the soul of the members of the household.

You see, the family is God’s idea, is God’s idea. Some of you who are singles preparing to get married, take notes. You’re gonna learn a few things today that will come in handy down the future. You see, God is the one who said to Adam and Eve, “Go and multiply and be fruitful and subdue the earth.”

You know, only my family would understand what I’m gonna tell you, but I’m gonna share it with you anyway. As a father who had made his fair share of mistakes, and I sure have, now I’m not just saying that to be humble or sound nice, but I’m telling you the truth. They know that. We talk about these things in my family. I can honestly tell you. I can honestly tell you that it would have been impossible without the power of God and the grace of God and the goodness of God at being on our knees every single day on behalf of our family. It would be impossible for us without complete reliance on the Lord to bring up our family in the fear and nurture of the Lord. When God is at the center, not only does He grow the family, but secondly, when God is at the center, He blesses the family.

In the United States of America families are disintegrating. Children are neglected. Many parents are raising up their children out of guilt, not love. They give them everything in the world except the most important thing of all–time.

A well-known Christian leader told me once, he said before he became a Christian, he felt that his children–his family–were nuisance[s], that they would just get in the way and he couldn’t wait to plan his business trips to get out of town. But listen to me. The sad thing is this. There are Christians who feel that way about their families. In fact, it was the Duke of Windsor who was once quoted to have said, “The thing that impressed me the most about America is the way parents obey their children.” (Laughter) They haven’t fared much better themselves, but that’s okay.

And yet, Solomon is saying to us today that children who are blessed, children who are the blessing from the Lord only–listen to that word—”only” when they are brought up to know the Lord, only when they are brought up to love the Lord, only when they are brought up to honor their father and their mother, only when they are brought up to respect their elders, only when they are brought up to know and obey the Word of God, God blesses such a family, because God grows the family and God blesses the family.

Thirdly, God guides the family. I don’t want to bore you with some of the most incredibly alarming statistics that I just read last week as I’m preparing for this message. I mean it’s mind boggling for me the statistics–the number of children who actually get their guidance from television than from their parents in this country. It can easily depress you.

Program Note:

John: You are listening to “Focus on the Family” and in a moment, you’ll hear God’s perspective on the danger that we see in the news every day. And by the way, you can get a CD of this program with extra content when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459 or get the instant download at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Let’s go ahead now and return to Michael Youssef on “Focus on the Family.”

End of Program Note

Michael: The children who see their parents go to the Lord for guidance are growing up, going to the Lord for guidance. The children who observe their parents regularly and systematically studying the Word of God for directions in their lives, they’re gonna grow up studying the Word of God for directions in their lives.

Listen carefully, please. More than anything else, more than any other item, this one is caught and not taught. All the preaching in the world ain’t [sic] gonna to help them. They’re watching Mom and Dad. You know, there are some people in the church of Jesus Christ, unfortunately, who when they’re in trouble and they need a word from the Lord, they take their Bible, they close their eyes and they open it and they say, “Well, you know, whatever verse my eyes fall on, that’s the verse for the day.” Have you heard people doing that? Sort of like a luck or charm. But I tell you, I heard about a man who used to do this, but one day he was doing this. He closed his eyes, opened the Bible and the first thing his eyes fell upon were the words as follows from the Scripture. “Judas went out and hung himself.” (Laughter)

Well, you know, he realized this is not what he’s looking for and uh (Laughter) so, he closed the Bible again and he said, “Well, I’m gonna try something else.” So, he kind of closed his eyes and opened the Bible one more time. And there his eyes fell on the verse that says, “Go and do likewise.” (Laughter)

Well, he still wasn’t convinced. You know, obviously, he said, “That’s just not right.” He said, “I’ve got to try it again, so he closed the Bible, closed his eyes. Opened the Bible again and sure enough the words which said, “What you’re doing, do quickly.” (Laughter)

You know, one of the things the Lord teaches parents about His parenting us is the way when we have children. I’m telling you, there’s nothing like it. You begin to really appreciate the Lord. (Chuckling) You appreciate how patient He is. You appreciate how loving He is. You appreciate how forgiving He is. I mean, you’ve got to have a huge back yard in order to bury all of the faults of your children, you know and they bury yours, too.

But the way to model our Lord and the way He parents us, to me, is the most common sense, the simplest and the easiest way. You can read all of the books and all the principles and all the one-two-threes and the formulas. God bless you. Read them all, but I’m gonna tell you, just watch how the Lord parents you as a believer. You model Him with your children and it’s the simplest way I have discovered.

How does the Lord then parent us? Well, in Genesis 28:15, God said, “I am with you.” And I can spend a sermon on each one of those. In Isaiah 51:12, the Lord said, “I will be with you.” In Deuteronomy 20, verse 4, God said, “I will give you victory.” In Psalm 149, verse 4: God said, “I am pleased with you.” Lift them up, don’t tear them down. In 1 John 3:1, God said, “I love you.” In Jeremiah 31:34, God said, “I will forgive you.” And in Psalm 34, verse 15, God said, “I will listen to you.” How many of us listen to our children?

You take these. You understand the marvelous way in which God parents us. You model that to your children and I guarantee you, they will grow up to love the Lord. Oh, they might wander off. That’s not the issue, but they will grow up to love the Lord.

When you know God and His ways, then your children are going to grow up to know God and His ways, because they are modeling you, Mom. They are modeling you, Dad. They are modeling their parents.

God grows a family. God blesses the family. God guides the family. Finally, God protects the family. Probably … and I’m careful here, because I can’t defend this historically, but I’ll say, probably our children are as unsafe today as any time in modern history. We have guns and violence in the schools. We have drunk drivers on the roads. We have mind-altering drugs on the streets. We have unscrupulous predators on the Internet. We have immoral teachers in the classrooms. Everywhere you turn, it seems, there is danger and insecurity.

No wonder the Psalmist said, “Unless God … ” Look at His words, verse 2. “Unless God guards the city,” unless God is the protector of our families, unless God is the defender of our families, unless God is the shelter of our families, it is in vain for policemen to work. You know, my heart often goes out and literally, I weep when I see a policeman killed in the line of duty. I thank God for these brave men and women, but I want to tell you, we have a greater, greater, greater guard and His name is Jesus. And the Scripture said that He sends His angels to minister to those who fear Him.

The Psalmist said it’s in vain for the guards to guard the city unless God, Himself, guards it. Is the danger that our children [are] in brand new, it’s just for our generation? No, not at all. Danger was, is and always will be, always gonna be [sic] with us. Each generation faces a different form of danger. Each generation faces different degrees of intensity of danger, but danger will always be with us as long as we live in this world.

And that is why nearly 3,000 years ago, Solomon could say, “Unless God guards the families, watchmen guard in vain.” Whatever danger we may live in, whatever insecurity there may be, whatever threatens us, those who have placed God at the very center of their families will be guarded by the Lord. You have His word on it. Those who place God at the very center of their families will be sheltered by His shadow. Those who place God at the very center of their families, they will be covered under His wings. Those who place God at the very center of their families are engraved on the palms of His hands.

I read recently about those who spend their life studying chicken. There are people actually who do that. And I want to tell you, I gained an insight from the Scripture that I never understood for a long time. And those who study the way a mother hen, the way it looks after her chicks, have said something like this. They said that a hen, when she sees a hawk circling overhead, she instinctively gives a warning sound and immediately, the baby chicks come running to hide beneath her wings. They said that whenever there is a menacing storm clouds [sic] that [are] filling the sky with rolling thunders and jagged lightning, she quickly makes a noise–a certain noise–that beckons her brood to herself, where they find protection from the element[s].

And the nighttime, as nighttime approaches, as the shadow lengthens, she gives a quiet call that gathered her young to rest. I think I gained an insight from the time the Lord Jesus Christ got on that Mount of Olive[s] and looked down on Jerusalem–that city that was filled with rebellious population who have rejected Him and rejected His Lordship and rejected His authority and rejected His protection. And He cried when He said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I wanted to gather you as a hen gathers her chickens, but you would not. You would not.”

Beloved friends, I want to tell you, God wants … no, I think God longs to gather families under His wing and under His protection. I believe the Lord longs to see family altars all over the country, all over the city. He longs to put us under His wings and under His shadow, but the question is, “Do we, as parents, place Him at the center?” Because when God is at the center of the family, God grows the family, God blesses the family, God guides the family and God protects the family.

Closing:

John: Wise words on today’s “Focus on the Family” from Dr. Michael Youssef, who is pastor of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia. And really until recently, it might have seemed difficult to put those words into action, to find constructive ways to put God at the center of your family. But we’re trying to change that, aren’t we, Jim?

Jim: John, we are, exploring God’s design for the family is the purpose of our DVD curriculum, The Family Project. And I think we’ve uh … hit the proverbial nail on the head, which we launched this in mid-May and we’re already hearing terrific reviews and that’s not for our own gratification, but we want to make sure that we put the best foot forward that we could possibly put forward for the defense of the family.

In fact, a pastor from Southern California called in to say, “The Family Project is the best resource I’ve ever seen. God’s hand is in it and our church is almost through the 12-week study and let me tell you, attendance is up 30 percent.”

John: Hm … wow.

Jim: [That] puts a smile on my face.

John: Yeah.

Jim: “And people are staying afterward to talk about the lessons and to share their own life situations. I’d use three words to describe The Family Project, he said, “honest, hopeful and healing. Thank you Focus on the Family.”

John: Oh, wow; that is a superb and wonderful way of putting it. It’s so nice to hear that people are staying afterward to talk about what they’re learning in The Family Project. What a great way to build friendships and community in the church.

Jim: Well, and what a great place to do it, you know, in the church to build up. So, pastors, boy if you have not heard about The Family Project, I hope you’ll call us. And for those that do small group[s], call us and get acquainted with it and hopefully, you can use it to build up the family in your congregation, in your small group, whatever it might be. And John, you’re gonna give details in just a minute.

John: Uh-hm, yeah. We’ve put together a kit that includes 12 small-group study sessions and uh … topics range from marriage to sexuality to family relationships and how your family can thrive and serve God every day.

Jim: John, it’s good stuff and what I liked about it, as I watched the curriculum, um … it’s the … the “why” we should concentrate on these things, not the “how to be” a better family.

John: Hm.

Jim: We do that, I think, just about every day here at Focus and I hope that’s helpful to you. Uh … but this is why. Why do I need to be a good spouse? Why do I need to be a good dad or a good mom? I think it gives you the scriptural motivation to do the best you can do to model God in your marriage and in your parenting.

And what it gets down to is, how do we model God’s love to people who don’t know Him? People are gonna watch you and they’re going to ask questions uh … when you’re doin’ it well and that’s the core thing–drawing people to Christ through your life and what they see in your life. And I think that was the point Dr. Youssef was getting to there.

Let me again, add, I’d highly recommend you get a copy of The Family Project. Be a part of this movement here in North America and literally, around the world.

John: You don’t have to be a pastor or a church leader to help strengthen families in your neighborhood and it starts with a simple invite to some friends and neighbors, to come over and watch The Family Project DVD series with you.

So, you can find out more about The Family Project at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. I’m John Fuller, hoping you have a great weekend and inviting you back on Monday. You’ll learn how to have a happy marriage in the empty nest years, as we share trusted advice and encouragement to help you and your family thrive.

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Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you!