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The Spiritual Impact of Healthy Living (Part 1 of 2)

The Spiritual Impact of Healthy Living (Part 1 of 2)

Gary Thomas emphasizes physical health and fitness as important spiritual values for Christians to steward appropriately for God's service. (Part 1)

Original Air Date: January 10, 2013

Opening:

Clip:

Woman: Doing great. Almost there.

Man: No, no. I gotta stop. C’mon Irene, let’s rest. Hey, how ’bout we go for a donut?

Woman: Just one more lap, Frank, then we’re done.

Man: Oh, a cramp. A cramp! And everything’s goin’ black.

Woman: Don’t give up, Frank. The doctor said exercise; it’s for your own good.

Man: That’s easy for him to say. Just shoot me now and get it over with. Did I mention my weak heart?

Woman: Yeah, every week, Frank. Keep moving. You can do this.

End of Clip

John Fuller: (Laughter) Well, maybe you can relate to that little scenario.

Jim Daly: Too much, John.

John: I wonder if pursuing a lifestyle of healthy eating and fitness is really a chore for you, where you look for every excuse to get out of it. Well, we might have some help for you, on today’s “Focus on the Family,” hosted by Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim: John, why is January [the month in which] we’re always talking about diet plans? It’s startin’ to drive me nuts.

John: It’s gotta be the top search on every search engine; everybody’s thinking diet.

Jim: Well, every commercial on television, lose few pounds, you know. Just sprinkle some salt on your food. But you know, I gotta admit it, like that clip, there’s often many days when I’m with boys, saying, “Hey, let’s just go get a burger.” (Laughter) They taste good, don’t they?

John: Yeah, they do. And you don’t feel any guilt at all, do you for that?

Jim: Not at all, I don’t feel any (Laughing). But you know what. We need to acknowledge that for many of us, especially in the church, we’re not always doin’ a great job taking care of bodies. We seem to kinda think from the head up, you know. Let’s be thoughtful, spiritual Christians, but when it comes to the body, eh–

John: Whatever.

Jim: –it’s not so important. And the other thing, I think we do a lot of social activities as Christians and it does take time to do that, so you’re, not working out. I find skinny people to be very, very isolated in social settings. (Laughter)

John: Why are you lookin’ at me like that?

Jim: I’m joking.

John: I do think it’s interesting. I tend to measure the quality of the fellowship by the quantity of food. I don’t know.

Jim: Yeah.

John: There’s just something about a church gathering. If the table is falling over because there’s so much food on it, then it’s gonna be a good time of fellowship.

Jim: (Laughing) But you don’t wear it; look at you.

John: Yeah.

Jim: You’re Mr. Fit.

John: I try to watch it.

Jim: Well, listen, here are some statistics here in America at least, where two out of five American adults never engage in physical activity. Now, I’m not fittin’ in that category.

John: Not at all.

Jim: And only 1 in 5, 22 percent are following the recommended guidelines for physical activity. And we want to talk about that today. Yes, it’s January. I know we all set out some goals for losing weight. But let’s put a spiritual context to it.

John: Well, Jim, those numbers are a little bit on the startling side. And there are some who are gonna argue, but it really doesn’t matter. You know, from a perspective of faith, the body’s gonna just turn back to dust and so, the spiritual life is what really matters. The body doesn’t really matter, does it?

Jim: Well, you know, you look at 1 Timothy. We do have a Scripture that kind of gives us some guidance in here. It says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things.” So, I think we tend to hide behind that.

John: Hm.

Jim: You know, it’s got some value, but what God really wants out of us is intellectual rigor and training.

John: Well, we have a guest who, as I said, is gonna offer some help in this matter. And he’s Gary Thomas. He’s back with us again. He’s been on the program a number of times. He contributes to our Boundless webzine, the Focus on the Family magazine in Canada. And he’s written a number of books about parenting and marriage and has an interesting one that ties right in to what we’re talking about today.

Body:

Jim: As I understand it, Gary, you’re a very passionate person, a person that’s in good health, but it hasn’t always been that way, right?

Gary Thomas: No, I grew up the consummate junk food junkie. When I was goin’ through college, Captain Crunch, Big Macs, pizza and ice cream were my four food groups. (Laughter)

John: Oh yeah, standard stuff.

Gary: And then of course, I marry a woman whose family made you know, their own 100 percent whole wheat bread and would, well, things that grow (Laughter). Stuff like that is what they prefer to eat.

Jim: Homemade muesli.

Gary: And so, I was duly convicted. I loved to run my entire life since I was in the high school runners, so I’ve always had the fitness end down. But the eating end down could slay me, which was fine for a while. You know when you’re in your 20s and exercising a lot, you can put away those Big Macs and the DQ Blizzards and the sugary cereals.

John: Those pizza buffets yeah.

Jim: Now where does it all go when you’re that age? I meanthat’s what I remember.

Gary: Yeah. You just race through it. After work I could go have three or four donuts every night and then never showed it. But I tell you. There’s something about hitting 30, then 35, then 40, where that metabolism stops and you wear what you eat in a way you never do in your 20s.

Jim: Well, let’s look at your book, Every Body Matters and it’s a great title. But you talk about before you had this epiphany, perhaps before you got married, how you would rummage around the floor of your car looking for candy (Laughter). I want to know more about that guy.

John: And what kind of candy was it?

Gary: Look, I have the taste buds of a 12-year-old boy. I mean, you put me in front of a bowl of M&Ms or Tootsie-Rolls, Midgies or chips with salsa, I wouldn’t want anybody to judge my sanctification in the face of that temptation. I just can’t have that in the house, because I’m gonna eat it and I won’t do very well.

Jim: So do you avoid entirely now? What do you do?

Gary: I try not to have in the house, quite frankly.

Jim: Well, you go outside a lot. Does that mean you eat like four bowls in your car?

Gary: No, well (Laughter), here’s where I was convicted and I think you guys touched on this at the intro. Just growing up as a Christian within the church, I’ve always heard about how we shape our minds. We have to believe the right doctrines, how we have to give our heart to Lord. How our souls need to be saved. But there’s almost absolute silence on how we treat our bodies.

Jim: Now why is that?

Gary: Well, I don’t think it’s there in Scripture. I think when you look at Scripture it emphasizes taking care of our bodies. I think there [are] just the cultural blinders that we have in this age. And it was really through reading a lot of the Christian classics, how even in the Middle Ages and before, they took it so seriously about how they had to make body their servant, about how things like gluttony and sloth, they called both of those “gateway sins” that opened up the door, not just to overeating or a life of lethargy, but they said it opens up the door to lust. It opens up the door to gossip. It opens up the door to pride. And they really saw ’em as these gateway sins, that if we compromise spiritually there, it’s like opening wide the doors to temptation everywhere.

Jim: Well, the inference there is that if you have control on those things, you’ll have control on everything else. Is that what you’re saying?

Gary: Well, I think there’s a lot of truth in that. I think virtue builds on virtue and I think vice builds on vice. I think if you have a serious compromise in your life in one area, you really do open the door to character issues in other areas. But conversely, if we grow in one area, I think it tends to build us up.

What really revolutionized, I think, my thinking, was just 1 Corinthians 6:19 through 20, when the Bible made it so clear. “You are not your own. You were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” And when I really got to the point where I understood, I don’t own this body. You know, keep your laws off my bod[y], all of that. That’s not God’s view. God’s view is, I’m giving you this body to accomplish the mission I’ve given to you, but you’re entrusted with it. You don’t own it. It’s not a matter of what you’re willing to live with. It’s not a matter of how you feel comfortable. It’s really a matter of God entrusted this to me.

I had an episode earlier in my writing career, when I was writing books with celebrities. And I did one with John Ashcroft, who was then senator, looked like he was gonna be running for President at the time.

Jim: Sure.

Gary: And between you and me, I wish he would’ve. I think he would be a marvelous President, as fine a man as I ever met. As we were going through that, he handed me this personal file with letters from his dad, annotated speeches and there were no copies.

And John Ashcroft is such an ethical man; he wouldn’t make copies in his senate office, because this was a private [file]; I mean, it was only 10 copies. He said, “No, I want you to take the original files and just work off that and we’ll discuss it when you get back.”

Well, I’m terrible at handling paper. If you saw my office, you’d lose all respect for me. I lose files. I lose notes. I’m just always reprinting things. And I was terrified. I said, “Please don’t give that to me. It can’t be replaced.” He says, “Gary, you’re a responsible young man.” I was a bit younger then. “I have no hesitancy doin’ this.” And I can’t tell you how obsessed I was that entire week. I had to know where that file was at every time, because it didn’t belong to me. I’ve lost more files than I could count. I didn’t lose that one, because it didn’t belong to me.

Jim: Phew.

Gary: And I thought, look, what if he runs for President someday or does become President and they’re trying to write his biography. And someone says, “Well, what happened at this point in his life?” And say, “We don’t know; some idiot writer lost the file (Laughter),” so, I mean, it really was this sense of stewardship. Because I didn’t own the file, I didn’t lose it.

And so, I wanted to start looking at my body that way. If I don’t own this body, if it’s God’s instrument to accomplish His work in my life, I need to start treating it differently, not just exercising it, but I need to think about what I put in it and that’s the harder part for me.

Jim: Well, I mean I could just feel a lot of guilt in that regard. I mean if you’re thinking in that way because again as Christians, we want to read the Word. We want to have daily devotions. We want to make sure we’re parenting right. That our marriages–and we’ll often use that here; you’re the marriage expert, Gary–but we’ll say our marriages are a witness to the world. But what you’re saying is in effect our bodies are as well. That’s pretty heavy. That doesn’t make me feel very good. (Laughter) And I’m an old football player.

Gary: I know. I know. And that’s really, really one of the toughest things, toughest athletes that have, when you’ve bulked up like that and it’s just hard. But here’s the thing. When you talk about all things God asks us to, I think this has the most personal benefit.

Jim: Hm.

Gary: When you look at just the mental benefits of being in shape, I can’t tell you, when people have really addressed this, they just do feel better emotionally. They feel better mentally. They feel better spiritually. It can affect your relationships. It can affect certain aspects of your marriage and your sense of energy, of being able to engage in life. This is one of those things that to turn the corner is painful and it hurts and it takes discipline, but the payoffs I’ve found are huge.

Jim: Okay, but the causality. What is food doing to us? I mean, we have to eat obviously. But it’s like anything else, lust that you mentioned earlier and other vices that we as human beings gravitate toward, because we have sin nature.

Gary: Yeah, yeah..

Jim: What is it about food that helps us emotionally? Or what is it doing for us and what’s it going to work against us?

Gary: This is what I think is so key, Jim. It’s like the empathy I have for 10-, 11- and 12-year-old boys when I talk to moms about pornography, because on the internet, it’s not a fair fight. Society is just making it so, click on this and you get to see what a naked woman looks like. That’s not a fair fight for a 12-year-old boy. Back in our day and age, you had to be a certain age to get a magazine.

And the same thing. It’s not a fair fight when you look at food. Our society is making it difficult, because I mentioned in Every Body Matters, there are engineers whose only job is to create food that has an instant pop. As soon as you put it in your mouth, you get feelings of pleasure. They’ve engineered how it breaks down, so it takes less energy to eat it. How it makes you feel, what it does to your brain and they’ve built on this and built on this, so that you will buy more and more of their product.

So, just as the pornography industry is really making it difficult for young men to live lives of sexual purity, there’s an entire food industry that is assaulting God’s Church. And we don’t usually hear sermons about this, where people need to be warned. In a very real sense, they’re at war against you to get you to eat isn’t good for you for their profit. Now I’m very conservative politically. I know I sound like a liberal from Portland saying that.

John: Sounds like a conspiracy that you’re talking about here.

Gary: But in this issue, it is true and I think we need to be aware of it and have empathy for each other as Christians, because some people have gotten sucked into this. And it does become like a drug. They have created food that makes us feel better. And we live in a culture where we get emotionally discouraged. We get depressed. We get tired. And this food really does lift us up. And so, it’s not just I don’t think that God looks at it like, “Come on, guys. Can’t you try harder?” I really think that God is calling out to us saying, “You’re being warred against. Let Me help you come to a better place in life. This isn’t helping you; it’s hurting you.”

Jim: Well, but I’m just envisioning. I mean, you know, again, I played sports. I’m heavy. And that’s something I work on. I try to work on constantly. Of course, my doctors are saying, “Yeah, it’d be great if you could lose some weight.”

And I’m thinking of a lot of women who struggle with this. You know, they’ve had children. It’s been a battle maybe their entire life. And it kind of, I guess it’s a bit of a body blow, you know, bang, to think of this like a pornography addiction or something like that. It seems different to me, but you’re saying no; spiritually it’s not.

Gary: Well, I do think the Bible takes sexual sin more seriously than it does gluttony. In fact, when you look at the biblical evidence, even though the history of the Christian church, when they had seven deadly sins, would always have gluttony and what not. The Bible doesn’t seem to address gluttony nearly as seriously as it does sexual sin. So, I do think it’s appropriate to stress health in that area. But I think clearly the Bible isn’t a fan of gluttony. It doesn’t focus on it like it does materialism, sexual sin, even gossip, or even lying for that matter, but it does address it. So, I think we need to as well, but it something that can trip us up.

It’s about motivation. And that’s why I wrote Every Body Matters. It’s sort of like Sacred Marriage. We know how to be married, but we need the motivation to stay married and to keep pursuing marriage. Most of us know what we need to do to be healthier, but we’ve lacked a spiritual motivation and then that’s seeing our bodies as instruments, not as ornaments. Seeing it as a part of discipleship. Seeing it as we don’t own our bodies. God says, He claims them. And having a vision for how God wants to use us in an active ministry throughout our lives. And we need to take care of bodies if that’s gonna happen.

John: Well, you’re listening to Gary Thomas on today’s “Focus on the Family,” hosted by Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and Gary, with regard to your own personal story, you had this epiphany. Did things just change overnight, ’cause suddenly, “Oh, I’m convinced. I’ve gotta take care of my body”?

Gary: No, in fact, if you talk to my wife, it’s still (Laughter) a frustration.

John: So you’ve not yet attained the prize.

Gary: Look, my wife is in top one-half of one percent of [healthy] eaters.

Jim: This is the granola girl.

Gary: Oh, she is, from the Northwest and now she’s just into coconut water and chia seeds on everything.

Jim: Oh, that’s terrible. That stuff tastes terrible.

Gary: She probably eats at most a teaspoon of processed sugar a week. (Laughter) Now I used to sneak in a little bit of that sugar in the raw at Starbucks and I’d go get her coffee. I’d sneak in a little bit of that so she wouldn’t completely lose the taste.

John: You were trying to turn her to the dark side?

Gary: Yeah, but (Laughter) she’s so healthy. I look pitiful. But I do realize that sugar rush is a reality. Eating more vegetables and those things that we know really do [need] and I am finding gradually my taste buds changing. Now I was so bad for so long. I think is like a lot of sins. You grow out of it. And you accept grace and say, “This was not the best day, but I need to go out of it.” And then not be legalistic, because the Bible actually talks about feasting more often than it does fasting. So, I think there’s a time to celebrate with food, but also a time to recognize that we need to be disciplined.

John: But what were the first steps that you took? I mean, I appreciate your candor about your current struggles, but go back to when you realized, “Oh, I’ve gotta take care of my body.”

Jim: What should I do tomorrow?

John: Yeah.

Gary: (Laughter) Yeah, for me, I had to have a completely new relationship with hunger. I had to recognize, it’s sort of like in running sometimes, when your heart is hurting and you keep pressing. I realize that since I was carrying too much weight and I was out of shape a bit, that hunger could take me where I needed to go, that there was a purpose behind it, that it could be a friend. Now I’m talking about affluent hunger. I’m not talking about Third World hunger where people are truly hungry. I’m talking about the little hunger pangs that we have in this society.

And I had to realize, if I kept eating just because I wanted to eat or I thought I might get hungry, I would never really be fully fit. And so, for me it was a different relationship with hunger. It was how much I ate. It was how fast I ate. I still struggle with that. I just whoo. I mean, with drinks and with food, I can just scarf it down. I don’t taste it. And I still am very much in process with that.

And then largely also for me, it was what I ate. I might not eat a ton at one setting, but I wouldn’t make the best choices. And so, I’m just trying every day to get a little bit better. What I like about eating is that it’s easier than some of the other sins, gluttony is, because gluttony is a matter of degrees. So, there are certain sins that you don’t want to do at all. This is really a matter of, am I overdoing it? And you can learn to grow out of it with a little bit more grace and ease of conscience than some others.

Jim: Gary, in your book, Every Body Matters, uh, you talk about this idea of refining silver and how that’s a good analogy for what we do with our bodies. Help me with that connection. How does refining silver connect to this?

Gary: Well, people often talk about wanting hearts of gold. What I’m trying to suggest is we could also talk about having souls of silver. Silver is harder than gold, but it has the benefit of once it’s beat into shape, it holds its shape better. And so, we want these strong souls once the dross has been removed, The Bible talks a lot about how God removes the dross, and that’s how silver is refined. It’s a repeating metaphor throughout all of Scripture. And I think the importance of stressing that in this context is going back to seeing bodies as instruments, not as ornaments. The ultimate aim of taking care of our bodies is to create a silver soul, not something physical that people can appreciate.

Most of us value physical fitness for all the wrong things. We want to look better. We want to feel better. Paul and I believe the ancient classical Christian writers would say address the physical issues because it builds up your soul. When you address gluttony, when you address sloth, you’re building up the inner man, and you’re building up the inner woman, so that you’re stronger and better able to face other temptations, and you grow in other virtues—compassion, and patience and initiative. When I learned to take initiative with taking care of my body, I learned to take initiative in ministry. I learned to take initiative in my relationships. When I learned to say no to the desires of my body that aren’t helpful, I learned to say no relationally and in other situations.

And so, again the focus has to be on building up my soul. The verse you read, Jim, about physical has some value, godliness has value for all things, that’s the key there. That’s what we want to talk about with the silver soul. We do keep the emphasis on the soul. The body is really a means to end.

Jim: You also talk about the distinction about being God’s instrument versus His ornament. I think I understand that, but in this culture, especially for women, that idea of God’s instrument versus God’s ornament, that would hit, I think, a lot of women’s souls. Tell us more.

Gary: Well, I think we’ve really looked away from physical fitness because the world overemphasizes it for all the wrong reasons. People are trying to make themselves ornaments. There are some guys that would be very physically fit and spend three hours a day in the gym. [They] would never read their Bible, but they pour over the muscle magazines. They eat to prepare for a workout. They eat to recover from the workout. They plan their shopping based on the work[out]. I don’t think that’s the attitude that necessarily honors God, because they’re trying to create this ornament that others can admire.

What I’m saying is, we don’t want to go the world’s view, but on the other hand, we, don’t want to go to completely ignoring it. What we want to see is that we are instruments. If my body’s not my own, if God has given each one of us a mission and I believe He has, whether we’re a mom, a grandparent, a dad, a business owner trying to keep a business going, whatever it may be, this body is God’s instrument to reach the world. How can I keep this instrument well-tuned?

So here’s what I love, how the Bible talks about our bodies as instruments. The Bible stresses character and wisdom. That’s what makes a person beautiful, and faith. Those are things that grow over time. You know, beauty and muscles, I don’t care how much you work at it (Laughter), they will fade over time. And so, the body reveres the aged, because it takes time to learn surrender to the Holy Spirit. It takes time to get our minds filled with God’s Word. It takes time to grow in humility and graciousness. And our bodies become then these instruments that God can use, so that we’re more effective in our 40s, 50s, and 60s, even 70s, than we were in 20s and 30s, even though we live in a world that’s ornament-obsessed, that focuses on the 20s and 30s.

John: Well, Gary let’s take it to practical level if you would please, for someone that has a teenage daughter. I have three. I won’t name which one, but one of them tends to prefer to pursue a diet instead of pursuing a little healthier eating pattern. And that’s a hard one for us to guide her in. How does this apply to a parenting situation like that?

Gary: First, I think especially with our daughters, we have to couch this in grace, because it’s not a fair fight. It’s clearly shown, physiologically, by race and by families, we’re all made differently.

John: Uh-hm.

Gary: Some races tend to be slimmer than others, within families. I don’t think every person is created to be skinny. And I don’t think we should set up thin as the ideal. It’s about being fit and an instrument for the Lord. So, I think it’s about giving our daughters and our sons, ’cause that’s a growing problem with sons, this view that your body is an instrument for the Lord. So, how do you take care of it so you can be the strongest and at your best? Then it becomes a lifestyle rather than a diet. It’s not whether you can fit in those jeans or whether you can fit in that prom dress.

But over the course of your life, how can you build a life of health so that God can use you, so that you’re there to minister to your classmates. I don’t care if my daughter can fit into a smaller size 2 pair of jeans, but then she’s so sick from denying herself food, she can’t pray for her teachers. She can’t be there and encourage the classmate. She just feels like she’s in this funk. It’s really looking at, how can I be the best for God today? What gives me the most energy to be used by God today?

John: Let me push you, though, because I hear what you’re saying. And she might hear what I’m saying, but it’s not easy. And I mean, you said it’s not a fair fight. So, she is looking around, comparing, comparing, comparing. And I think this is pretty regular for most teen girls. So, what are some things I can help her see? Because you know, she’ll look at me and say, “Yeah, yeah, I know what’s inside, but …” And she starts looking at all of the indicators of what’s outside. So, what are some things that I can do to help her recognize what you’re talking about, mean, really today, put into practice?

Gary: With kids, I think one of the best things we can do is find the form of exercise that they enjoy. We do what we like to do. And if the kid likes to run, let him run. If they don’t like run, let ’em swim. If they don’t like to swim, volleyball or whatever. But I think it’s a losing battle to try to force exercise. We have to really try to work at what we do. I think secondly, and this is where my wife has been so good with our daughter. She has been such a good model of what she eats and how you prepare it and why that’s important. And I think our kids with that model, they all eat much healthier than I do and they have since high school.

John: Hm.

Gary: And I can’t even begin to take credit. I’m really more their temptation (Laughter), than anything else.

John: This is Lisa’s doing.

Gary: But you know, I think my wife has done a sterling job. She’s been an example of that, health has been a value. And I think our kids have just caught that. I think if you’ve got a mom who wants to reward people with unhealthy food, you know, that shouldn’t [happen].

John: Which is a very common thing.

Gary: It is and I think that’s gonna be hard to work against. I think we’ve gotta come back to the point where health becomes a priority and a value, maybe even over comfort food that can be dangerous.

Closing:

John: This is “Focus on the Family” with your host, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and our guest was Gary Thomas, talking about his book, Every Body Matters. And Jim, when we originally aired this conversation with Gary a few years ago, we received a lot of positive feedback from our listeners.

Jim: We did, John. We got some great comments like this one from a woman who said, “Loved the broadcast on health with Gary Thomas. My husband and I are in our 60’s and going to the gym is our date night.” That’s pretty good actually. “There is so much benefit to exercise. I’ve seen people in their 70’s and 80’s who make vast improvements in their lives. I love your show and I share it with others often. Thank you.” Man, that is what we want to hear and I don’t know about date nights at the gym. (Laughing)

John: I guess it’s better than no date nights.

Jim: (Laughing) That’s true.

John: Yeah.

Jim: That’s for sure. My wife, Jean and I might want to try somethin’ like that or maybe after the gym, we can have a little ice cream or somethin’, but (Chuckling) I do love hearing how a program like this one has encouraged your family and your community. And what a great challenge that woman shared about exercising regularly so that you can enjoy those later years in life with more energy and vitality. And who knows what kind of positive impact you can half on your children and grandchildren as a result. And I gotta be honest. I’m feeling convicted there. I mean, I keep tryin’ to find time to work out and with travel schedule, but you just gotta get to the point where you’re saying, no more excuses, just gotta do it.

In fact, that’s why Focus is here, to help promote not just physical health, but spiritual health, emotional health and we are always please to be able to offer that kind of resource, that kind of tool like Gary’s book. Let me also ask you to help us share those benefits with so many more families who will contact us in the months ahead. Your financial support fuels what we do here and we need to hear from you today. When you make a donation to Focus on the Family, I want to say thanks by sending you a complimentary copy of Gary’s book, Every Body Matters.

John: You can donate at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio or when you call 800-232-6459; 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And when you get in touch, ask about the CD or a download of our program today. We’ll include not only next time, but some additional content that we just couldn’t fi

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Every Body Matters

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he’s learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who’ve sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

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.

Sara Hagerty, author of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

Being Seen by God

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, everyday moments, and how we can find our identity in Him apart from what we do.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

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.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

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

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

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!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

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.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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! 

Focus on the Family

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