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Focus on the Family Broadcast

The Biblical Truths Your Kids Need to Know

The Biblical Truths Your Kids Need to Know

As a parent, you are the most important influence in your child’s faith development – more than friends, social media, or even the youth pastor. Ruth Chou Simons offers practical help for teaching kids God’s Word. She describes why you don’t have to be a perfect parent to model Biblical truths at home.
Original Air Date: February 7, 2022

Sponsor ID: This program is sponsored by Focus on the Family, helping families thrive in Christ for over 40 years.

Preview:

Ruth Chou Simons: It doesn’t have to be perfect, right? I think, especially as a mom, sometimes I go, “I said I was gonna start on January one. I was gonna go through the Bible in a year and now I am on day 12 and I’m already behind, I guess I’ll just give that up.” No, start again tomorrow, because if the goal is to know Christ, and to love him more, and to align your heart and your life to look more like him, then tomorrow is not too late to begin.

End of Preview

John Fuller: What a great encouragement from Ruth Chou Simons. She’s our guest today on Focus on The Family here to help you and your family develop a solid faith foundation. Thanks for joining us today. I’m John Fuller, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, it’s so easy lose sight of the big picture as we raise our kids, what are we trying to do? Parents face, you know, basically constant pressure to get their child involved in sports or church activities, school programs. I mean, Jean and I succeeded sometimes with Trent and Troy, but other times we just, they weren’t interested, so it didn’t work. If you’re a mom and dad, I’d encourage you to step back and ask yourself, what’s my main focus when it comes to parenting, and what should my focus be if I don’t know? Scripture provides a clear job description for parents, it’s to teach your kids about God and his will for their lives. I mean, that’s pretty straightforward. Talking about God’s word might happen in a structured setting. Jean loved of that, the devotions every night at 7:00 and go for 30 minutes, we got 5 minutes of contemplation (laughs) and 10 minutes of singing, and then 10 minutes of Bible reading, and then a Q&A time. I mean, that was Jean, and for me, it was driving down the road, going, “Man, look at that sunset, look at what God’s painted for us tonight,” kind of in the moment. And I am looking forward to talking with our guests today about how to encourage you as a parent to build those foundations in your children.

John: And Ruth Chou Simons, uh, is an author, artist, and entrepreneur. And you might know her as the founder of Grace Laced and, uh, she creates art rooted in scripture. Our conversation today is, uh, about a book that Ruth and her husband, Troy, wrote called Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family. And we’ve got copies of that here, and all the details are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Ruth, welcome to Focus on The Family.

Ruth: Thanks so much for having me.

Jim: So good to have you. I’m excited because you’re a mom of six boys. (laughs) I mean, that… You’re an expert.

Ruth: Not an expert, (laughs) but I have a lot of experience.

Jim: Okay, for the listener and the viewer, what, what are the age ranges for your boys? What, uh, the oldest to the youngest?

Ruth: My oldest is 19, and then it goes to 17, 15, 13, 10, and 8, and I just did that. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, right. If Troy, your husband were here, would he be able to answer so concisely, that’s the question?

Ruth: Yes. Oh, he’d be better. He had, (laughs) he knows their birth dates. I have to like look for it on my blog to find what day I blogged about their birthdays.

Jim: That’s great. I’m, I’m impressed with Troy.

Ruth: He’s good. (laughs)

Jim: All right. Let’s get into it. Uh, let’s address listeners who are thinking, you know, teaching the Bible isn’t kind of in my wheelhouse, I’m not that kind of extrovert, communicator, whatever it might be. And, uh, yet how is this topic relevant for parents who don’t see themselves as the big reader?

Ruth: Yeah. You know, I think parents get overwhelmed easily because we immediately think that we have to create a perfect scenario in order to teach our children about God. We think about having to put our hymnals out, sing amazing grace, and everybody has to be well behaved. And the number one question I get all the time is, “Well, Ruth, what do we do if our kids are rolling around on the ground, (laughs) or they start getting in a fight, or they start poking each other and they’re not listening?” And I go, “Well, that’s really kind of real life, right?”

Jim: Yeah.

Ruth: And so teaching scripture and showing our kids the goodness of God isn’t gonna happen in a vacuum, and I think for so many of us, we thought that if we just take them to Sunday school, if we just take them to VBS, we’ll accomplish the whole goal and then we can just live our normal lives at home. And we’re finding that ultimately it doesn’t work to just to let somebody else take over that discipleship factor. We are called as parents to be the number one primary influencer, primary discipler of our children, and so we have to find a way to do that out, I think.

Jim: Yeah. And I, I do, I, you know, VBS, our boys went to VBS.

Ruth: Absolutely.

Jim: You can see it as an augmentation…

Ruth: Yes.

Jim: … Of what you’re doing, not the sole source, right?

Ruth: And not. And you can’t just be one once a week and once a year, it needs to be in our everyday, mundane, daily lives.

Jim: Yeah. Well, I gonna say for the listener, a good thing to remember is don’t outsource the faith training of your children.

Ruth: Yeah, that’s good.

Jim: You know, you can seek experts, but you be the core person. And we’re gonna talk about that in a minute. I wanna start though, with even your faith foundation, the type of home you were raised in, because so many of us that weren’t raised in a Christian home, you know, we can flounder a little bit and not, not really know what’s the right thing to do. I mean, I didn’t find the Lord until I was 22 or whatever the age might be. What’s your experience growing up or not growing up in a Christian home?

Ruth: Yeah. You know, my parents and I, we all came to genuine faith about the same time as I was entering high school. And so interestingly, my parents were baby Christians. They were young in the faith. They were learning all the things about what the gospel is, how to, you know, what church is supposed to be like, how it is to study the scriptures. And so they were trying to train us up in the same… At the same time that they were learning those things. (laughs). And so my parents did the best they knew how, but I think they leaned towards thinking that there was a way to, um, read something in a… and assume that that was discipleship in itself. And it sometimes got a little legalistic, Jim. I mean, honestly, it, it wasn’t their intention, but it kind of became a sense of, well, you know, if you had a bad day, it might be because you didn’t have your quiet time. And so that… The, the idea of spending time with the Lord as a family or individually kind of became formulaic or ritualistic rather than relational. And I think that’s whereas an adult now, I feel really called to and burdened to help inspire parents to seek that relational aspect when we’re parenting and discipling our kids, rather than fall back on thinking it has to be perfect, or we have to do it in this exact time slot every single day.

Jim: And I want to dig into this a little bit, because what you’re touching on is so important and we’ve done broadcasts with parents who had blown it, um, I’m thinking of The Pepin’s and…

John: Oh yeah.

Jim: … You know, some great programs. And if you as a listener you haven’t heard that one, that’s a good one. That was, uh, the daughter who at 17 was pregnant and you know, what that did to the family and the solutions that God provided for that family. And it’s a beautiful end story, but in that context, it’s this idea of really training to behavioral outcomes rather than heart outcomes.

Ruth: Exactly, right.

Jim: And that’s hard because I think we as believers, you know, especially for the parents, we know that living these things in a structured way, these spiritual truths in a structured way, produce good behavior, I mean, makes you a good citizen, all these wonderful things. But when you’re parenting, you’ve got to allow your kids to stumble. I mean, it’s just part of letting them grow. Uh, we grow in the valleys not in the mountaintops. And I, you know, I so appreciate what you’re saying there.

Ruth: Well, I think we forget that the, the example that the apostle Paul sets when he writes each of the Epistles, is that he literally says, “Let me remind the reader who God is, who we are in Christ,” and then the actions the put on and put offs come later, sometimes by chapter four. And sometimes as parents, we go straight to the put on, put offs, like don’t lie, you know, do these things, don’t do these things.

Jim: Which are all good things.

Ruth: Which are all good things, but we don’t lay a solid foundation of faith as we’re asking for them to consider living a life that’s worthy of, um, the, the gospel.

Jim: Right.

Ruth: But we, we go straight to, this is what it should look like rather than this is who God is and why we can build our lives on His foundation.

Jim: And I think at the core, Ruth, it’s teaching your children how to choose to do the right thing. Doing the right thing without that choice being made does not prepare them for adulthood.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: They need to be taught how to choose and why to choose to do the right thing, not simply choosing the right thing. Correct? Um, let’s move into the 12 truths that you picked out, uh, in your book. Let’s grab a few that, uh…

Ruth: Sure.

Jim: … We want to talk about, just list them for us, and then we’ll get into some questions.

Ruth: Well, the best way to tell you about how this book came to be is that a couple years ago you could walk into Hobby Lobby and see these like our family rules. I don’t know if you remember that.

Jim: Of course.

Ruth: But you walk in and say…

Jim: We bought them, are you kidding?

John: (laughs)

Ruth: Okay. And so they’re really cute, right? Most of the time it’s like farmhouse themed. And it’s usually like, um, in this house we say, please, we take off our shoes, we don’t leave, you know, the last cookie.

Jim: We brush our teeth.

Ruth: Well, you know, stuff like that. (laughs) And I said to Troy, one day, I said, “Do you wanna buy one of those, or what are, uh, our “family rules”?

John: Mm-hmm.

Ruth: And he said, “You know, babe, I really feel like I would love for our kids to be able to look up and see a list of things that we aspire to that are biblically based, not just like in this house, these are the things that we say we’re about, but what does God say we must be about?” And so I said, “Well, then why don’t you write those for us?” And so these 12 are not exhaustive, they’re not the only 12 things that we aspire to, but they’re 12 beginnings and starts at the very beginning, love, loving God with all our hearts, and then ultimately hating sin, especially your own. Because when you start at the very basis of why you need Jesus, then you can start moving on to all the other things that we see and hope to build our families upon.

Jim: Yeah. It’s so good. And I love the fact that you said, why don’t you write them, honey? (laughs)

Ruth: Well, He did. And so…

Jim: That makes me go, whoops. (laughs)

Ruth: Well, he did. And so then that actually became prints that we made for our home and then for our customers at Grace Laced as well, but that’s how it turned into the book where we said, okay, now that we wrote these, let’s flush this out as in terms of how we talk about these 12 in our own homes.

Jim: Did Troy find that scripture that talks about cleanliness being next to godliness? (laughs)

Ruth: You know, he list that one.

Jim: Are we still looking for that scripture?

Ruth: Yeah, he…

Jim: I wanna find that one, so…

Ruth: He didn’t put that as one of the top 12, you know? (laughs)

Jim: That’s crazy. Um, in fact, uh, Ruth, you have a great story about losing your temper, and this is a good example of how to be open and honest in front of your kids, and you lost your temper. So I’m gonna out you a little bit here, but you wrote it in the book.

Ruth: (laughs)

Jim: What happened?

Ruth: Well, well, which time? Because…

John: Just this one time.

Ruth: … Oh my goodness.

John: This one time.

Ruth: You know that one time?

Jim: I love that answer. That’s a good answer.

Ruth: That one time.

Jim: This is that one where it became an opportunity to share some truths with your kids.

Ruth: Yeah. Well, as you can imagine, being a mama of six and having everything from college bound kids to children learning how to actually like put away their laundry and making sure that they clean the bathroom when it’s their turn, you know, we have all, the whole range. I often find myself impatient because I struggle with feeling like I want things done my way. And most of the time there’re things like who’s cleaning out the fridge? Why didn’t you guys do this even though we’ve already talked about it 10 times? You know, the, the things where I expect some level of perfection. And I can think of so many times. And I think what I explained in the book was that so many times when I lose my temper, it is a display of how I’ve put something else, my comfort, my expectation, or my desire for perfection above my love for God. It’s most of the time it’s a display of my worship of self, my worship of my own comfort, and my making an idol of what I want this house to be about. And usually that starts with the word, word, you know, perfect something, you know, there’s always is some idea of perfection in my mind, and I want everybody to know when they’ve… didn’t meet the expectation to get me to that point.

Jim: You know, that really struck me because I, I maybe it’s just that I haven’t read that in such a succinct fashion when something, uh, gets you, when you get angry about something, is it an idol? That’s a great question to ask yourself, at any age.

Ruth: And I think that one of the best ways to do that self-assessment is to say, am I willing to sin to get what I want or is not getting what I want causing me to sin? And so when I think about that in terms of being a mama, it’s okay to want the dishes done. It’s okay to want everybody to pick up after the game that they played. But the way I communicate that will reveal whether I think that getting my way is more important than honoring the Lord.

Jim: Yeah.

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and our guest today is Ruth Chou Simons. Uh, she and her husband for Troy wrote a book called, Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family. This is great stuff. And as you can tell, it’s applicable to, uh, pretty much every person that follows Christ. We all have moments where we have to stop and think, and, uh, we wanna live better. This book will help you do that in your parenting journey especially, and we’ve got copies of that book here. Uh, just stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Uh, Ruth, there’s a time your husband Troy was struggling to read the Bible, and you know, that that is the pace of life sometimes. And he shared this experience with your kids. Uh, just being a mom observing that example, what took place and how was it positive thing to say to your kids, I’m not really reading the word right now.

Ruth: Well, between the two of us, Troy ho- honestly has a better, um, consistent and disciplined routine, but we all, right? All of us going through seasons where we’re not getting a whole lot out of it, or we’re thinking, wow, why did I not see the fruit of that time today? And so I love that he often shares with the boys that it’s a matter of, um, walking consistently in the relationship with the Lord, even when that day you don’t necessarily feel up for it, or you don’t feel like it’s some big dramatic experience. And so he’s modeled for them, hey, first thing in the morning when I wake up, and there’s no magic to first thing in the morning, and he often says, “Hey, if it doesn’t happen first thing in the morning, let’s find some time later,” but he is always the first one up now and he’s modeling for them what it is to feast on God’s word and the aroma of that. And just the fragrance of seeing their dad kind of like really enjoy it has really wooed them to that.

Jim: That’s good. I like that feasting on the word. I like that. That’s, uh, that’s a good metaphor for what we should all be doing. It’s so difficult to teach your kids if you’re having a hard time, like you said, uh, getting into that reading and that discipline yourself. What advice would you have for the parents who do struggle with that consistent time? What, you know, I think the obvious answers just do it.

Ruth: Yeah.

Jim: But you know, again, that doesn’t always get someone motivated to go. So what, what can they do to recognize the importance of doing it?

Ruth: Well, I will just tell you what I preach to myself because I… It’s a perennial struggle in my own life to remember that I need to be fed. So some things, some practical things that have really helped me is, um, sometimes I mix it up by going on a walk and listening to audio Bible or, um, listening as I walk. I think that makes a big difference. I think sometimes it really just helps to remember that it doesn’t, uh, this might be the theme of my, my interview right now, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, right? I think, especially as a mom, sometimes I go, I said, I was gonna start on January one. I was gonna go through the Bible in a year and now I’m on day 12 and I’m already behind, I guess, I’ll just give that up. No, start again tomorrow, because if the goal is to know Christ, and to love him more, and to align your heart and your life to look more like him, then tomorrow is not too late to begin.

John: Mm-hmm.

Ruth: But when the goal is to feel good about your Christian walk and to think yourself a good believer, and to prove that you can check things off the list, then yeah, you’re gonna be really discouraged to start again. So I think it really helps to do that self-assessment and say, what is my motivation? Because if it’s Jesus and knowing him more, then I will begin again tomorrow even if it’s five minutes.

Jim: Yeah.

Ruth: Even if it starts with, um, I love that story about Susanna Wesley, about how she had all these children, and the only time she had with the Lord was to throw the apron over her head and that signal to her kids, I’m having a moment, I’m praying and I’m talking to the Lord by throwing the apron over my head. So for so many of us, it’s not gonna be a quiet walk in the woods, it’s not gonna be all this alone time, we’re surrounded by, um, demands and children. But take a moment, even if it means you open up this book or your Bible, and just say, hey guys, I’m gonna just listen to the word for five minutes here.

Jim: Yeah. And that’s such, you know, a good admonishment. Uh, it always is buttressed by a good story. So I think you and Troy, you were sleep deprived, the kids were young, you were dying on the vine, a lot of moms are leaning in that right now. I’m right there, that’s where I’m at. And Troy suggested something to you that really meant something about reading.

Ruth: Well, yeah. So, so you’re, you’re referring to the time where, um, we had a child who just didn’t sleep. And, you know, people can write and tell me all the things about what he might have needed during that time, but we tried everything and he, he was about four and he just woke up seven or eight times a night. And, you know, you get to that point where months in and you start feeling like I just, just can’t function.

Jim: (laughs)

Ruth: And so all I wanted to do in the morning was, well, I, I can’t get up, I have to sleep in until as late as possible because I’m miserable.  And so one morning he, you know, after a season of feeling like he was running on empty, he just got up and he said, um, and I go, “What are you doing?” He goes, “I gotta get up and read my Bible.” And I go, “How can you afford to lose any sleep and get up and do this?” And he goes…

Jim: Right. (laughs)

Ruth: “I can’t afford not to.” That was his answer. And his answer ultimately was to remind me that there are times, and it doesn’t mean that there’s some formula for, you have to get up even when you’re tired, but that there is a need that’s far beyond sleep and, um, food and shelter, it’s really of the soul that we must commune with God when we are children of God, we have to. And so you know when you’ve been running on empty and dried up after a season

Jim: Ruth, one of the, the themes that I’m hearing you talk about, uh, especially I want to, again, direct this toward the moms, but this affects dads too. The balance between feeling guilty and feeling motivated.

John: Yeah.

Jim: And, and I, you know, diets don’t work when its guilt driven.

Ruth: Yeah.

Jim: You know that you give up, have the donut, shouldn’t have done that, now more guilt.

Ruth: Yeah.

Jim: You know, so when you apply that to spiritual disciplines, I mean, when the… When that person is motivated, as you’re describing, like Troy saying, man, I need to read the word more than I need sleep, that’s pretty profound. But that person that’s, maybe their whole Christian life has been built on guilt, not on love and respect for the Lord and the right thing to do, but not through guilt, through relationship, just describe that for me. How do we move someone from the guilt environment to the man, I just need it?

Ruth: I lived most of my life, um, operating out of fear of not having approval, um, not pleasing the Lord, thinking if I had my quiet time, he’d be pleased with me and if I didn’t then, oh my goodness, maybe he doesn’t even wanna hear from me. Because in my mind, I thought he was the kind of heavenly father that would be sitting there cross armed, going well, you’re having a bad day because I told you, you should be in the Psalms by now at, in your Bible reading.

Jim: Wow.

Ruth: You know, like tap, tap, tap, why, why are you so behind? In my mind, that’s the narrative I had of a holy father in heaven. And so to move our hearts from the place where we are striving for God’s grace, striving for approval, fear of not having blessing and favor, to move from that place to striving, as in working hard and pursuing with great intent, striving in grace, the difference there is you cannot give away or operate out of what you don’t have.

Jim: Right.

Ruth: And so we have to taste and see that the Lord is good first and foremost. So for the listener out there who goes, well, I don’t really know why I’d wanna open my Bible, I feel real dried up in my soul and I feel exhausted, and I just feel like it would be checking off the list, I would say, you know what? The Psalmists felt that way at times too, start there. Find out what is so great and what is so satisfying to the writers of the, the word, like, why did they know that God was faithful and good? Start there.

Jim: Well, I think, I think a self-assessment might also, uh, be that if you consider your faith transactional, if I do these good things…

Ruth: Yes.

Jim: … These right things…

Ruth: Right.

Jim: … Then God will… And fill in the blank. He’ll bless me, he’ll gimme the new car, he’ll gimme a house…

Ruth: Exactly.

Jim: … Whatever it might be. That’s so transactionally based that when it doesn’t happen, now you have a remorse. You have anger toward God, because I did what I was supposed to do, and you didn’t. And it’s such a, a vicious cycle and it’s not healthy spiritually. That’s not… God is not transactional that way, he wants your relationship. And so then when bad things happen, you’re still leaning into him and you’re trusting him.

Ruth: And the amazing thing is I hope someone who’s listening this, I hope this is like a reminder for the listener. But when you look at the story of redemption from beginning to end, it’s God continually putting on display, he’s doing what we cannot.

Jim: Yeah.

Ruth: I mean, when He walked through the broken bodies of the animals with the Covenant with Abraham saying, “I’m gonna put you to sleep and I’m gonna fulfill the Covenant by myself and do that, that’s um, you know, in the Old Testament, but ultimately to Jesus Christ dying on the cross.

Jim: Shedding his blood.

Ruth: Yes. But we did not do that. And so I think when we feel the struggle of like, I can’t handle my life, I can’t do my Christian walk well enough, I’m gonna ruin my kids, when you feel those things and that narrative’s kind of crowding into your head, you gotta start with the reality that God’s callings are His enablings, when you are his child, He will give you exactly what you need for the very things He calls you to. And it’s always been about him holding all things together, as we read in Colossians, it’s always been about Him doing the impossible, right.

Jim: Right.

Ruth: It’s always been Ephesians three, about him doing more than we can ask or imagine.

Jim: I’m sitting here, uh, that’s what excites me.

Ruth: Yeah.

Jim: That’s… (laughs) Um, I could feel it me, it’s going yes.

Ruth: And, and my hope, is to say yes, to like…

Jim: His strength.

Ruth: … Reach out and like reach across this, your earbuds, and to say, if you are weary, this is worth pursuing because he’s pursuing you, right?

Jim: Yeah. That’s so true. Describe that worship, the reading of the word in your home. What have you and Troy found that really has worked with your six boys, you know, as a regular rhythm to doing, you know, reading, and worship, and spending time together spiritually?

Ruth: Well, they all put on ties, and we get (laughs) our hymnals out and they sit…

Jim: That works huh?

Ruth: … With their [inaudible].

Jim: That’s amazing.

Ruth: And they play their piano. No, no, it never looks like that. It looks like sometimes it’s in the car when we’re driving from one place to another and we say, um, “Hey, nobody’s on their headphones, right? Let’s, let’s have a conversation. Let’s talk about the word now.” Sometimes it looks like us finishing up dinner and me saying, “Hey, I made, um, little dessert or extra something for us to nibble on, let’s just hang around for a while, while, um, papa reads from the word and talks about what he got out of it today.” Um, whether you’re using a devotional, like the one I’ve written here, because the goal with writing Foundations was to help you get the conversation started. It’s for parents who go, “I don’t really know what to say or what to read or how to even pass on something that I’m not sure I’m getting much out of.” And so we’ve started that conversation to help you lay down that, that groundwork, that true foundation of faith with your kids to get that conversation going. But if you are in the word yourself and you wanna share, just say, “Guys, I read out of Philippians today. I wanna tell you what I read. Let’s talk about it.” And so it can be as simple as that. And I think one of the things that really helped me as a mama who struggles with perfection is to remind that just because it didn’t go really well yesterday it doesn’t mean we can’t try it again today.

Jim: Right.

Ruth: Just because we don’t do it exactly from 6:00 to 6:30 every night, doesn’t mean we’ve failed. And I think Troy has done a really good job of reminding me because in our Instagram, A Bold World, um, I like Instagram, I work on Instagram, I’m on Instagram, but sometimes we think we peer into another person’s life, and we think their family looks perfect. They’re all sitting quietly. Nobody in their family is dead, you know, radio silent when you ask them who is Jesus, you know, you know? (laughs) You’re like, “They’re all doing so well.” No, just remember that it’s not perfect for any anyone. And that even if you have a child who’s thrown a fit in the middle of your “family devotion time,” that might be the very topic that God wants you to address that night.

Jim: And I think one of the great things as a parent is intentionally trying to keep your child’s heart tender toward the word not brittle.

Ruth: Absolutely.

Jim: You know, so think of that as you’re setting up this conversations, how do I keep my, my kids’ heart as tender toward the Lord as possible.

Ruth: And in our house the number…

Jim: Usually not finger wagging.

Ruth: Right. And in our house, the number one way to do that is for us to go first.

Jim: Yes.

Ruth: For us as parents to be the example of tenderness, and vulnerability, and for us to confess first and say, “I’m the one that needs to use Jesus today.” And when you go first and say, you’re the one who’s screwing up, you’re the one who is needing to remind yourself that Jesus is all and not, um, perfect schedules, or not accomplishing all your goals, then they are able, and they’re brave enough to say, okay, I get it too.

Jim: Yeah. This has been really good, Ruth. I hope, uh, the listeners, the viewers have caught this. This is so critical in your parenting journey to develop the heart. You know, somebody, uh, Ken Wilgus, who’s been on the broadcast, said, you’re trying to launch adults, not children. (laughs). And that’s a great statement. You know, spiritually, emotionally, the whole bit, you- you’re not trying to launch children, you’re trying to launch an, an adult. And these are great insights on how to do that. Ruth, thank you for being with us.

Ruth: Thanks for having me.

Jim: So appreciate it. And, uh, boy, if you need this kind of help, uh, this is a resource that you need to get. And I’d like to encourage you to, you know, help us in ministry. Uh, make a gift of any amount and we’ll send you a copy of Ruth’s book, uh, to help you in that parenting journey. So you’re getting really a twofer, right? You’re helping minister to other parents and you’re getting a resource that will really help you in your own parenting journey. So do that, make a gift today and we’ll send you the book as our way of saying thank you.

John: Donate today, ask for your copy of Foundations. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or visit focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And be sure to check out our Live It challenge for great activities to encourage you in your family’s faith. When you sign up, we’ll send a monthly challenge straight to your email inbox. All the details are at our website. Be sure to join us next time as we hear from pastor Andy Stanley, encouraging you to look pastor’s circumstances and rest in Christ.

Preview:

Andy Stanley: The foundation of our faith is a person. The foundation of our faith is not an experience. The foundation of our faith is not an answer to prayer. The foundation of our faith is a person, Jesus Christ, the Lord.

End of Preview

John: 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.

Today's Guests

foundations by ruth chou simons and troy simons

Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family

Recieve Ruth Chou and Troy Simon's book Foundations for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

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Forming New Habits For Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. Randy Schroeder returns once more to FOF to discuss habits you can integrate into your marriage! Jim talks to Randy about pursuing the daily essentials of affection in your marriage, promoting emotional closeness, and leaving and cleaving properly. (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Forming New Habits For Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. Randy Schroeder returns once more to Focus on the Family to discuss habits you can integrate into your marriage! Jim talks to Randy about pursuing the daily essentials of affection in your marriage, promoting emotional closeness, and leaving and cleaving properly. (Part 1 of 2)

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Trusting God When Times Are Hard (Part 2 of 2)

Crystal Evans Hurst shares fun stories about her family to make a serious point: only God has the right perspective on our life, especially when times are hard. We need to understand how being a child of God also makes us His responsibility, and what that really means in daily life. (Part 2 of 2)

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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.

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Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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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

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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

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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

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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!