Bible teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan shares inspirational lessons that can be learned from the Apostle Paul about living an authentic Christian life, changing the culture and serving the broken world around us. (Part 1 of 2)
John Fuller: Hey, this is John Fuller with Focus on the Family. And thanks so much for joining us today. In just a minute or two we’ll get to our scheduled broadcast about 7 ways you can show love in your everyday relationships. Well, what we wanted to share right now, though, is just a portion of an interview we had yesterday with Dr. Francis Collins. He’s director of the National Institutes of Health and he had some really informed, reasonable things to say about the current situation with the coronavirus.
Dr. Francis Collins: That’s part of the reason I think people are having trouble getting their minds around why this is so serious. If you’re young – in your 20s or 30s – and you have no chronic illnesses, you could get this disease and have a fairly mild course of it. But think about all the other people around you and particularly people as they get older where the susceptibility goes up. This is a really important point, Jim. If we were all just thinking about ourselves, then all the young people would probably be our carousing and having a great time, because if they get coronavirus – “I might be sick for a few days.”
Jim Daly: Right.
Dr. Collins: But then they’re getting it and they’re spreading it. Oftentimes even before they know they have it. And then, we have our whole country infected. Including all of those vulnerable people. This is a great moment for Christians to be in this space of recognizing that we have a responsibility for those who particularly need that support – for those who are most vulnerable. In this case, it’s people with other medical issues or the elderly. It’s up to us to help protect them by not catching this disease ourselves and spreading it all around.
John: Listen to the entire conversation with Dr. Collins. It is terrific. And we’ve got it at focusonthefamily.com or you can go to YouTube and watch it there. And let me remind you that our staff is working from home and we still are available to you via the phone. We have encouragement and hope for you on our website. We’re trying to serve families during these uncertain times. So, please, let us know how we can help you. Our number is 800, the letter, and the work FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And then finally join Jim and me, and the entire team here at Focus, in praying for our nation and this world especially for those directly impacted by this pandemic. And remember this is an opportunity for us – those of us to follow Christ – to demonstrate our hope and trust in God and, uh, to reach out to others. Last night I got home – my wife was walking out the door to an elderly neighbor’s house and she had, yes, a package of toilet paper that she was delivering. And, uh, these are opportunities for us through everyday moments to really just express the love of Christ. Thanks again for join us today. Let’s go ahead and hear now from Dave Willis.
Dave Willis: “Be kind and compassionate to one another”, it says in Ephesians. “Be tender-hearted toward one another.” And what that means practically is be your loved one’s biggest encourager not their biggest critic. And if we’ll just choose to lead with encouragement and to always speak the truth through that lens of encouragement, then we’ll be on the right track.
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John: Dave Willis joins us today on Focus on the Family, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.
Jim: Well, I’m sure you’re familiar with the verse in the New Testament of the Bible about the way of love. It’s 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. You’ll know it when I say it here. “Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It’s not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” And, man, that is what we believe here at Focus on the Family. We want to help you have the best relationships you can have, whether that’s in courtship or marriage, with your children, in your friendships and especially in your relationship with the Lord. So today we want to explore what love truly looks like and help you learn how to build purposeful and intentional relationships with those around you, emulating the love of Christ.
John: And as I said, Dave Willis is with us. He’s a former pastor, a speaker, an author, a relationship coach and a television host for MarriageToday. He’s married to Ashley, and they’ve been on the broadcast here before. They have four boys. And Dave has a great book called The Seven Laws of love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships. Look for that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: Dave, I just want to say I love you, brother. Welcome to the program.
Dave: I love you guys, man.
Dave: I was having so much fun, I almost forgot we were recording.
Jim: You were lost in love there.
Dave: I was. I just love hanging out with you fellas.
Jim: So, let’s – let’s go there. I mean, we think we know the definition of love. What is love truly?
Dave: Well, in its most basic form, love is commitment. You know, I get into broader definitions in the book, but I think that one of the biggest distinctions between our culture’s definition of love and God’s is our culture looks at love as a feeling; a feeling you have for a while, a feeling you can fall in or out of. But every time we see love in Scripture, it’s something that’s rooted in action. It’s rooted in selflessness. It’s rooted in commitment. And Jesus shows us that kind of love in what he has done for us and then calls us to show that kind of love for each other. And if we’ll root our relationships in that kind of love, it will take all of our relationships to a new level.
Jim: Well, sometimes, we so often complicate things. And the older I get and the more I read the word and walk with the Lord, I think what I hear him whispering is, “It’s not that complex.”
Jim: Just simplify it, Jim. Don’t overthink it. In fact, you went on a mission’s trip, I think, to Guatemala to an orphanage. There, you saw a demonstration of love. What happened? What caught your attention?
Dave: Yeah. I was in a – really, just a world-changing place for me. It’s an orphanage called Casa Shalom, which means “house of peace.” And this – this orphanage serves about 100 kids at a time in a place where, you know, the government-run orphanages – there’s no foster care system, and the government-run orphanages really have a lot of corruption. Some of these kids have been trafficked…
Dave: …Into sex slavery…
Dave: …From the people that should’ve been protecting them. So, the private-run orphanages, the Christian ones like Casa Shalom, are really just doing a world-changing work. And the kids are so full of joy and life. They’ve been through so much, but most these kids are running and playing and joyful. And it’s just a beautiful picture of God’s healing and redemption. But on my first visit there, um, Josh and Jessica Hanson, who – a couple who run the place – Josh was walking us around. And all these kids had a heartbreaking story. And then this teenage girl ran up to him and just gave him the biggest hug, and she was so full of joy and life. And she just hugged him and then went off with some of the other girls to – to play. And he got tears in his eyes.
Dave: And he says, “And that’s Margarita. And, you know, her story is heartbreaking. She had been abused in the worst kinds of way by her dad, and then she was taken out of that home, put in a home of an aunt and uncle. Her uncle abused her in the same unspeakable kind of ways. So, by the time she got here, she was just broken. And she didn’t trust anyone and with good reason because everyone that should have ever protected her is – had abused her. And so, we just did our best to love her. This is a place where we just want to – want to love, and we believe in and God’s healing coming through – through real love. And so, we served her. We loved her. We tried to make her feel safe every way that we could. But weeks went by. Months went by without her barely speaking to any of us. And we just kept loving and kept praying and kept letting her know that she’s part of the family here.” And then one night, out of the blue, you know, we’re sitting out on the hillside, and it’s the most beautiful setting. And there’s – off in the distance, you can see a volcano that’s still active. You can just see so much beauty there naturally in Guatemala. The little boys are playing soccer. The girls are jumping rope. And Margarita comes, and she sits right next to Josh and Jessica, who were sitting on the hillside looking at these kids. And she scoots in close, and Josh kind of holds his breath because she’s never gotten close to an adult, especially a man. And she gets right next to him, and she puts her head on his shoulder. And he just can’t believe what’s happening. He just kind of holds his breath, and – and then she speaks to him. And in Spanish, she says, “You know, when I came here, I didn’t know – I didn’t know what it meant to feel safe. But I feel safe here.” And she said, “And I – and I also didn’t know what love was or if it was even real.” She said, “But I know that God loves me, and I know that you love me.”
Dave: And then she got up and went off and just started playing. And he said, “From that moment on, she’s been a different kid.” And he’s – it was such a touching and profound moment for them. And for me, just to hear the story, I’m, like, in tears, like, “Oh, my gosh, this is amazing,” because it is a picture of what love can do.
Jim: Well, and it’s redemption, too.
Dave: It is.
Jim: Yeah. Your mom was a hospice nurse. And as a boy, you used to go with her. I find that a little unsettling…
Dave: Right. It sounds…
Jim: …That you were around, you know…
Jim: …A lot of dying people. Yeah, it sounds a little odd.
Dave: It sounds a little morbid. Like, you know, what – should I – should social services have come and taken me, you know? (Laughter).
Jim: Well, I wouldn’t go that far.
Jim: But it just – you know, for me, that just was unusual. But you said it was extremely positive.
Dave: It was life-changing. I did tease Mom about it. Like, “Mom, you know, it’s – it’s weird.”
Jim: “What are you thinking, Mom?”
Dave: “It’s weird, like, for me to be hanging out with dying people.”
Jim: But what did it do that really brought you a different perspective?
Dave: I’m so thankful for that experience. And Mom, if you’re listening, I love you. You’re the most loving person on Earth. She really is, which made her a great hospice nurse.
Dave: Showing care and compassion to people who are dying. And she’d make house calls and be on call, and if I was riding around with her, then I would just go with her. And I would hang out. And to me, it just felt so normal. I didn’t realize till later that was a pretty unique…
Jim: How old are you at this time?
Dave: I guess I would have been, uh, from probably age, like, 9 to 12 in this window of time.
Jim: OK. So, you were cognizant of what was going on.
Dave: Yeah. I knew what was going on. I knew that these people were dying. And they knew they were dying. And it led to some really interesting conversations. And it – it shaped my worldview in a lot of ways that I didn’t understand fully till later – that when somebody’s dying, what is important to them comes into laser focus, right? What matters to someone at the end of their life just really is in focus. And so, they would talk to me about their life, about their regrets, about their joys. And what I learned in those moments is that every significant joy a person has at the end of their life is rooted in a relationship – relationship with God, relationship with their loved ones. And every significant regret a person has at the end of their life is also rooted in relationships – a part, a time where they’ve – they failed someone they’ve loved, or they – they didn’t give forgiveness or seek forgiveness when they needed to, or they didn’t prioritize God until the end of their life. And I’m so thankful that I heard that from people. You know, I never heard people say, “If only my – my golf score would have been better. If only I’d have made more money.”
Dave: You know, things that we get so worked up about. And really, at the end, on your deathbed, I promise you, it’s not going to matter. But love will matter. Love is the only part of life that really can last forever because we bring that with us into eternity. That – that’s God’s kingdom here on Earth. And so, let’s not wait till we’re on our deathbed to realize that that’s really what’s important.
Jim: Yeah. Being a pastor and, you know, studying the Scripture, uh, what is that finer definition of love? What did you come to the conclusion – that love is what?
Dave: Love is a commitment and an action that’s rooted in selflessness for the sake of the other person ahead of your own. And…
Jim: Wow. That’s good.
Dave: And that’s what God has done for – I mean, Jesus lived that out. He gave his very life. And that’s an act of – that’s what love looks like, you know. Love doesn’t look like a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates on Valentine’s Day, even though that’s nice, too. I do love some chocolate. But love is action, and its selflessness. And Jesus said, “This is – this is what love looks like.” And then in the marriage ministry Ashley and I do, He raised the bar to the extreme level by saying, “Now – now, husbands, I want you to go love your wives this way. I love my church this way; you go love your wives this way.” You know, He gave his very life. He – he gave all of himself. And then He said, “Love each other in your homes. Love each other in marriage. Love each other with this kind of same love.” He told His disciples – “Same way I’ve loved you, now go love – go love others.” And that’s our call, too. And so, like, Jesus, you died for us when we were completely unworthy of it. You gave everything to us when we had no way to repay you. And Jesus is saying, “Yeah, that’s what love is. Now go out into the world and do that, and you’ll change the world.”
Jim: In The Seven Laws of Love, you mention how boundaries produce power in love. What – connect those dots for me.
Dave: Yeah, I had a friend named – named Tommy, who kind of gave me the illustration. He said that – that – you know, that the Mississippi River and kind of the Florida swamps have the same amount of water, but the Mississippi River is able to take goods and services and people anywhere they want to go because it flows in one direction with clear boundaries on both sides, where the swamps and the marshes have all that water but there are no boundaries so it’s just – everything is just kind of wet and nasty. And so, yes, love needs boundaries. And I think people think, “Well, that doesn’t seem right. Love’s supposed to be limitless, and love’s supposed to be, you know, without boundaries.” But God gives everything that matters boundaries for our protection. And not for our limitation, but for our protection. And The Seven Laws of Love are really just outlining what those boundaries are that are gonna help love flow freely and powerfully from us to others.
John: Well, you’re listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And our guest today is Dave Willis. And, uh, his book is called The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships. And we have copies of that and additional resources at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.
Jim: Dave, let me, uh, emphasize this because I think in the culture today, um, there is a selfishness that continues to grow. I mean, it feels like when I was 5, I didn’t feel – and I – you know, I wasn’t totally cognizant of everything. But, you know, you’re becoming aware. It seems like the culture was kinder back then, that we tolerated things a bit more, that we didn’t have social media biting at each other.
Dave: Oh, yeah.
Jim: And so today, it feels like, uh, you know, there’s just so many things working against loving your neighbor, as Christ commanded us to do. I mean, “I don’t like the way that person looks. I don’t like the way that person speaks. I don’t like what they say when they speak.” It’s all that stuff, right? And even in the church, we express those – you know, especially in the political arena, I mean, we express great disgust with people that don’t think the way we think or go the way we want them to go. So, with that, let’s dive into the laws because I think – the point I’m trying to make here is it’s very practical. The church needs to understand what it means to love God and to love your neighbor. And for the rest of the program, that’s what we’re gonna talk about.
Dave: Yeah, that’s it.
Jim: So, law No. 1, uh, is that love requires commitment. So how have we, as a culture, let commitment fall away?
Dave: Gosh, in every way. You know, in the marriage work that Ashley and I do, you know, we just see all the time that the whole concept of – of a committed marriage is something that’s just falling apart in our culture. And that’s – that was really the – the kind of the cornerstone of commitment in human relationships that God established. And so, if that’s falling apart, the ripple effect from that is then – what’s the point of commitment anywhere?
Jim: Well, in fact, that kind of proves my point. It’s a symptom of something in the soul.
Dave: It is.
Jim: And if divorce rates are growing in the Christian community, that would say we don’t know what we’re doing.
Dave: Yeah, we…
Jim: I mean, really.
Dave: We’re buying into everything the world says about relationships, and they have no idea what they’re talking about. But God’s word is – is still timeless, and he still has the perfect plan for the way love and relationships are supposed to work. And without commitment, uh, it just – it won’t exist.
Dave: Every bit of love has to exist within – within a commitment to that person.
Jim: So, Rule 1 is commitment.
Jim: Rule 2 is selfless sacrifice. OK, now I’m getting uncomfortable.
Dave: Yeah, of course.
Jim: Really? You’re gonna ask me not to do something I really want to do in order to, you know, appease my wife?
Jim: Come on, Dave.
Dave: That’s – that’s where – that’s where love is most powerful is when it – when it costs us something because that’s really the main distinction between, like, the world’s view of relationships, which is just networking – you know, “You do something for me; I’ll do something for you, but I’m not gonna do more for you than you did for me. I’m gonna…”
John: It’s all transaction.
Dave: It’s all a transaction.
Jim: No. 3 – and this is a good one to explore a bit – speaking the truth in love. That’s certainly a phrase we use as Christians. What does that actually look like? I mean, we can be brutal, speaking the truth in love.
Dave: Yeah. Yeah.
Jim: I mean, I love you…
John: Don’t hurt your feelings, but – yeah.
Jim: I love you, but yeah – you know…
Dave: Yeah, you’re looking really bad today.
Jim: Have you looked in the mirror lately?
Dave: How much weight have you gained?
Jim: Right. It’s all that stuff. But we can – we can kind of coat it in love, but we’re really throwing you a dagger.
Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Well, the truth and love always are inextricably linked. Jesus is the embodiment of both. You know, he said, “I’m the way, the truth and the light.” He said, “I’m the embodiment of truth.” And he’s also, of course, the embodiment of love. They can’t exist apart from each other. But the Bible also says you have to – because they’re connected so much, you have to speak the truth in love. Just speaking facts apart from love with cruelty in your voice, is not speaking truth, and it’s not speaking love. We’ve got to be willing to speak the truth in love, which means I’m telling you this, uh, even if it wounds me to say it because it’s for your good, and I’m saying it out of love. And that can happen if we have to kind of correct or admonish one another when we see somebody stepping out in sin and do that in a loving and a humble way and to invite people to do that for us as well, to have that kind of accountability in a world where we don’t – we don’t like accountability. But we all need it. But we can’t be cruel, you know? In marriage, we always – we always tell people in the marriage ministry – Ashley and I do – that you got to tell each other the truth. But you never, ever, ever, ever get to be cruel. “Be kind and compassionate to one another”, it says in Ephesians. “Be tender-hearted toward one another.” And what that means practically is be your loved one’s biggest encourager not their biggest critic. And if we’ll just choose to lead with encouragement and to always speak the truth through that lens of encouragement, then we’ll be on the right track.
Jim: Yeah. No. 5 – you say, “Love offers grace and forgiveness.” You had some analogy about forgiveness and mosquitoes. I don’t know how you could say those two things in one sentence, but what – how’d that go – forgiveness and mosquitoes?
Dave: Yes, so mosquitoes and forgiveness – who knew they went together?
Dave: And what I learned…
Jim: I’m still skeptical.
Dave: Yeah, well…
Jim: Prove it to me.
Dave: Here’s the deal. Like, I am delicious, apparently. Like…
Dave: There’s something about me that – when I moved to an area, the mosquitoes have like – “Have you tried – have you tasted the new guy? He’s amazing.” Like, I don’t know what it is, but they just – I’m like the hot restaurant in town.
Dave: Everybody wants in. And Ashley, they don’t like. You know, even though she’s the beautiful and wonderful one. And – but they don’t like her, so they’re always coming to me. And she laughs about it, so I’ve got to lather myself up with – with mosquito repellent, with DEET and all that.
Jim: That’s really good stuff. (Laughter)
Dave: And it is. And so, I smell weird, but it keeps them away. And it kind of got me thinking that, you know, just like mosquitoes, a lack of forgiveness in our life can just be something that is so incredibly distracting and annoying and something that – that captures us, our thoughts and our focus and takes away our peace because all we’re thinking about are these tiny little things swarming around us when we have the ability to put something on that’s going to repel it. And – and love is really the repellent to that lack of forgiveness because when we choose to love, what it does is it softens our heart. And it allows us to let go of those grudges that we’re holding onto and to really embrace peace. God doesn’t want his kids walking around holding grudges against one another because when you do it, you’re the one that suffers. It was St. Augustine who said, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and then hoping the other person dies.”
Dave: And there’s so many of us gargling this poison of a lack of forgiveness, trying to punish the people around us when it only hurts us. And Jesus is saying, “Live in love, live in freedom and let go of those grudges.”
Jim: Well, and it’s – you know, the people that have been hurt are hesitant to open themselves up to love because there’s always the chance of being hurt again, right? So, you…
Jim: I guess in some ways, you might call that callousing of your heart that you’re guarded after a while. But real love is also healing and transformative, as you said at the beginning. What are some steps to take toward finding that kind of healing love, to rip the scabs off, to be able to trust?
Dave: Yeah. And when you’re – when you’re hurt, it’s hard. It’s kind of like if – if you go to the beach and you get sunburned and then someone comes and they – they pat you on the back and you want to punch them because they’ve hurt you – not intentionally. They didn’t do anything at all wrong. They just touched you in a place you were wounded. And there are a lot of us carrying around kind of this emotional sunburn and scarring all over our hearts because of things that have happened in the past, times we’ve been hurt. And so, the people who are trying to love us now – just by proximity of being around us, it’s like they’re touching a wound, and we’re pushing them away.
Dave: But really, to really experience healing, we’ve got to be willing to take the risk and let people in, starting first and foremost with Jesus – you know, the ultimate healer – to just find peace and healing in his word and in his promises and in what he says about you and the fact that he is never going to leave you or forsake you even if other people in your life did leave you and forsake you. And to find your healing in him and then to have the courage and the faith to allow other people into your life where you can love them – and yes, any time you’re in a relationship, there’s an element of risk that you could get hurt. But it’s a risk that we have to have the courage to take because love is always worth the risk.
Jim: Well, and that’s the key. I mean, you’re gonna live a very shallow life if you stay in that protected area and you don’t interact with people because you don’t want to be wounded. There’s lots of rationalizations for that, but I think, you know, trusting God to trust others is what you’re saying.
Jim: Uh, Dave, you share a story of a friend of yours. I – I think he’s a police officer named Jamie. What did he share with you that made, uh, an impact on the seventh law, which is love lives forever?
Dave: Yeah. Uh, Jamie’s a great guy, and – and – just a shout-out to all of you who are – who are protecting us as first responders. The work that you guys do is so important and does not go unnoticed. And, you know, Jamie’s one of those guys, uh, keeping our community safe. And – and part of what he gets called to do – because he is not only a brave protector, but he’s also a tender-hearted and compassionate guy is he gets to do a lot of the death notices. You know, when – when someone has been killed in an auto accident, he goes to the home and informs the family. When someone has died within a home, you know, he’s usually one of the first on the scenes just to be a presence. And he’s got this pastor’s heart, and he – he provides a lot of hope and help in those moments. And he was telling me the story of – of being called to a home where an elderly woman had passed away, and he was the first one on the scene. And he went into the house, and the husband was there. And he was just very, you know, tenderly and gently stroking his wife’s hair and – and kneeling by her bedside and – with tears in his eyes. And Jamie started talking to him, and this man just started telling all these stories about his wife and – and their love that they had for each other, the love that she had for Jesus and how he knew that she was with Jesus now, the love she had for their family. And – and as Jamie looked around the house and he just saw all these pictures documenting, you know, decades and decades of – of living a life of love, a life worth living, and – he realized that, man, this is a woman and this is a couple that – they’ve – they’ve done it right. I mean, this is a love story that really will last forever. Because – because of Jesus, love isn’t a story with a happy ending. Love is a story with no ending and one that can continue because of him in eternity, and these are two people that really understood that. And as he shared that story with me, it was just a reminder that – that God is still doing miracles every day just through those simple acts of love.
Jim: And the sweet thing in that story – if I know it correctly, I think the – the man said, “66 years just wasn’t enough time to spend together.”
Jim: I mean, that’s so sweet.
Dave: The most – the most important line in the story – I – I left it out, but what a beautiful line. Yeah, 66 years together – it wasn’t nearly enough time.
Dave: And I think, man, what a – what a powerful picture of, uh – of the way that a – a marriage should look.
Jim: Um, you mentioned love is everlasting, and that can be a great legacy, obviously. You knew a family in your hometown that lost their son in a car accident. How was love demonstrated in that instance?
Dave: Yeah, it is a powerful story. It was a family that I’d – I’d grown up with. Um, and there was a young man named Paul, and he had a car accident one night. I didn’t know Paul personally, but I went to school – I was in the same grade with his younger sister Kathy, so I knew this family well. And Paul, when he was about 19, had a car accident. His family was called to the hospital. One of those calls you never hope you get as a parent – “Your son’s been in an accident. Get here right away.” And when they got there, their worst nightmare was confirmed, that Paul had passed away in this accident. And in that moment of absolute pain and panic, you know, they can’t even think straight. The doctor said, “And I hate to ask you this right now, but this is a time-sensitive issue. Um, would you like to donate your son’s organs? You know, he was a young, healthy guy. A lot of lives could be saved, um, through this tragedy.” And so, they thought about it, and they said, “You know, Paul loved people. We know that he’s not in that body anymore. He’s with Jesus. He would want us to say yes to this.” And so, they did. They said yes, and they signed the papers, and they – they went on their way, just – just grieving the loss of their son. And then after about a year, as they’d kind of gone through that grieving process and were thinking back to their son’s life and legacy, they said, “You know, we want to meet these people who received one of our son’s organs. I mean, they’re – they’re part of our – our family now. They’re part of us, and they’re part of Paul, and we should meet them.” And so, they reached out to the hospital, and the hospital reached out to these recipients. And every single one of them said, “Yes, please. We would love to meet you and thank you.” And they went on this kind of road trip tour just to meet people. They met a woman who’d received one of their son’s kidneys, and she hugged them, and she wept and cried and said, “Thank you. I’m going to get to watch my grandchildren grow up. I’m so sorry for your loss, but because of what you did, I – I have a new life.” And one by one, there were stories like that. And they waited intentionally to the very end to get to the guy who’d received their son’s heart. And so, sure enough, they wait till the end. And they – they get to this gentleman’s house, and they – they pull up the gravel drive out in the country where he lives. And before Paul’s dad had even stopped the car, Paul’s mom had flung open the car door and had run out of the car because she saw this gentleman standing on his porch. And she ran up to him, and before he could even greet her, before he could even speak, she – she just kind of flung herself into his arms, and she embraced him in a hug that was so tight, he couldn’t even breathe. And – and after a few moments of kind of awkward silence, he tried to say, “Hello. It’s nice to meet you.” And she just said, “Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak.” And a few moments, later she slowly pulled away, and there were – there were tears streaming down her face, but there was a huge smile on her face. And she said, “When I hold you close to me, I can feel my son’s heart beating inside of you.” And when I heard that story, it was just a reminder of this reunion we’re all gonna have with our Father, God our Father in heaven one day. And when we cross from this life into eternity, I believe that the arms that created the universe are going to want to wrap themselves around us, that God is going to run to you like he ran to the prodigal son and wrap us up in a big bear hug. And in that moment, he’s not going to want to praise us for how much money we made or how many academic degrees we got or any of those kind of things. I think the first thing he’s gonna want to say to us is, “When I hold you close to me, I can feel my Son’s heart. I can feel the heart of Jesus, a heart of love beating inside of you. And that’s what really matters.” In the end, that’s all that really matters. And if we’ll live life with that kind of perspective, I think it’ll keep us on the path God has for us.
Jim: What a beautiful story. Thanks. I can’t see anything right now ’cause my tears. But that is perfect. What a great place to end. And Dave, I’m so grateful to you for your wonderful book, The Seven Laws of Love. We’ve done our best to cover as much as we possibly could. But you need a copy of this. And, uh, really, join us in ministry. Help us financially. Pray for us. And I’d love to send you a copy of Dave’s book as our way of saying thank you when you do join us to be a partner in this ministry.
John: Donate and help the work of Focus on the Family expand, and we’ll say thanks, as Jim said, by, uh, sending a copy of The Seven Laws of Love by Dave Willis. And you can find all the details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800-232-6459 – 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.
Jim: Dave, thanks for being with us. Give our love to Ashley, as well.
Dave: Absolutely. Thanks again, guys.
John: Well, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.
Bible teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan shares inspirational lessons that can be learned from the Apostle Paul about living an authentic Christian life, changing the culture and serving the broken world around us. (Part 1 of 2)
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Amy Carroll explains how listeners can find freedom from self-imposed and unrealistic standards of perfection in a discussion based on her book, Breaking Up With Perfect: Kiss Perfection Goodbye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You.
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, gives an update on the coronavirus pandemic.
Then, offering encouragement found in her book Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to be Noticed, Sara Hagerty describes how we can experience God in ordinary, everday moments, and how we can find our identity in Him apart from what we do.