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The Timeless Truth of Christ (Part 1 of 2)

The Timeless Truth of Christ (Part 1 of 2)

Ellie Lofaro delivers a humorous message with a serious theme as she talks about being an "overcomer" – someone who can triumph over any of life's challenges with God's help. Using Proverbs 31, Ellie encourages women to be full of joyful confidence, no matter what problems they face, and to share the love of God with whoever they meet. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: December 28, 2015

Preview:

Ellie Lofaro: God did not leave us to dangle in the dark. He’s not a sadist in the sky waiting to hit you with a rubber band or a disease. He did leave directions. He did leave instructions. Taxes, sex, mother-in-laws-

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: It’s all in here.

End of Preview

John Fuller: The Bible is full of great advice on a variety of topics, and our speaker Ellie Lofaro will share why it’s so important to know those Biblical truths on today’s episode of Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, Ellie is a popular speaker who has authored several books, including Spaghetti for the Soul. Uh, she combines Biblical wisdom with a great sense of humor, as you’re gonna hear. In fact, the last time we aired Ellie’s message, one of our Facebook friends said, “This made me laugh out loud as I was driving home from work. Good thing it was dark outside or people would have thought I was crazy.”

John: (laughs) That’s a nice compliment.

Jim: (laughs) That’s good.

John: We do want people to laugh and Ellie’s gonna help us do just that today. She’s a native New Yorker, and she and her husband, Frank, live in Reston, Virginia. They have three grown children, and here now, is Ellie Lofaro, speaking at a women’s conference on Focus on the Family.

Ellie: Reston, Virginia is a planned community. It was, uh, created by Robert E. Simon. Those are his initials, Ro- Robert E. Simon town. Reston is, uh, a kind of a strange place. It made me very nervous when I first moved there because it’s a perfect planned community. 20 pools. Everything ha- is just so. There’s a certain mileage. There’s walking trails and jogging trails. There’s no funeral homes or cemeteries.

Audience: (laughing)

Ellie: He said he was building utopia. I guess you don’t die in utopia. But I do have a theory. They lay fresh mulch every three months.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Anyway, it’s a- just a unique place, and it’s, uh, like, I said, just lovely, and there’s flowers planted, and, uh, it’s just very nice, but it really was a unique change for me in the beginning, and I believe that to live in Reston, you have to be, you have to be between 30 and 60. It’s baby boomer-ville. And then when you’re 60, you have to move out.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: There is a tower at one end of town, it’s a Lutheran home. It’s a skyscraper. And, um, I go there every few months, and I sing some songs, play guitar, and I’m an honorary member of the 30 plus club.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: So I go, and it’s so much fun, and I like doing humor for the old people ’cause they have hearing aids.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: And the, the joke goes around the room real slow.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: They start banging on their canes, you know.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: But I love going there, and there’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who loves Jesus who’s in her 80s. Who’s been loving Jesus a long time. You know, people say that you li- start to look like your pet. You start to look like your husband after many years. You know, you take on characteristics of people you spend time with. Imagine what that’s like when you’re a Christian. That you can start to look like Jesus. When you walk in a room, sometimes, women will say, “Excuse me, what is that you’re wearing?” You know, wouldn’t that be nice if we could say, “That’s Jesus.” You know? What is that about her? Why is she different? Oh, I got to get some of that. You ever have people say to you, “Who are you? Or what are you so happy about?” And it’s such a great opportunity to say, “It’s Jesus. It’s Jesus.” It’s not me. This is how I used to be. This is how I am now. So I love that. But a wonderful thing about visiting the old folks home is that you get to enjoy some of their wisdom. Here is some observations made by senior saints. One lady says, “Insanity is my only means of relaxation.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Reason to smile every seven minutes of every day, someone in aerobics pulls a hamstring. One of life mysteries is how a two-pound box of candy can make a woman gain five pounds.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Mildred says, “My mind not only wanders, sometimes it leaves completely.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Ethel says, “The best way to forget your troubles is to wear tight shoes.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: The nice part about living in a small town is when you don’t know what you’re doing, someone else does.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Phyllis says, “The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Sometimes I think I understand everything, and then I regain consciousness.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Martha said, “I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting my pantyhose on fire.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Amazing. You hang something in your closet for a while, and it shrinks two sizes.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Lilian said, “Skinny people irritate me. Especially when they say things like, ‘You know, sometimes I just forget to eat.’”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: I have forgotten my address, my mother’s maiden name, my keys, but I have never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Margaret said, “A friend of mine confused her Valium with her birth control pills. She has 14 kids, but she doesn’t care.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: And finally, women over 50 don’t have babies because they would them down and forget where they put them.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: I like the story of the elderly lady who came out of the shopping mall, bags in both hands, and as she’s approaching her little white car, all four doors are open, the trunk is open. Four teenage boys are proceeding to enter her car. She’s the widow of a police lieutenant, and she has the right to carry his weapon. It’s not loaded, but she carries it. She reaches into her deep pocketbook, and she pulls it out, and she says, “Get away from that car. I have a gun, and I’m not afraid to use it.” The teenagers did not wait for a second invitation. They fled. She was so shaken, poor thing. She put her bags in the car. She sat down in the driver’s seat. She was just absolutely upset, and she could not get the key in the ignition. Five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes later, she looked over four cars, and she saw a car-

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: It looked exactly like her car. She put her head on the steering wheel, and she shook it, and she went over, and she tried the key, and it fit.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: She went straight to the police station to turn herself in. The police captain fell on the floor like Dorothy. He pointed to the other end of the counter, where four shaken teenage boys-

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Were reporting a carjacking.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: By a crazed elderly woman, 5’2″, white hair, big black shoes. No charges were filed. Senior citizens.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: I’m 45. I’m having a lot of senior moments. I walk around the house. Sometimes I get to the kitchen. The kids go, “It’s dinnertime mom, sit down.” I apologize to my mother all the time because this happened to her in her late 50s. It’s happening to me much sooner. We used- I used to make fun of my mother, like, “Ma, you know, open the cabinet, you look in, you go, ‘I know. I know I’m… I just know.’” I- I’m laughing at myself all the time. I have sometimes gone back for the third time-

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Going, I think I can get it.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: It’s just difficult. It’s just really difficult. Very, very hard. But it’s good to laugh at ourselves, ladies. Motherhood is hard work. Aging is hard work. I like the story of Mabel. She’s a sharp woman. Mabel has raised her son, David, right. And she’s a little concerned because David’s moved to the big city, and he has a roommate who is a female. David insists that it’s just platonic. Mabel’s not so sure about that, and she knows that if she goes there, she can tell for her own eyes. She’s very discerning. Mabel arrives, and they put out a lovely dinner. Stephanie cooks. Mabel goes home. Couple of days later, Stephanie says to David, “David, I’m not saying anything, but ever since your mom left, my sterling silver gravy ladle is missing.” David says, “Stephanie.” “David, I’m not saying anything, but it’s missing.” “All right. I’ll, uh, I’ll email mom.” Dear mom, I’m not saying you took the gravy ladle, I’m not saying you didn’t. But the fact is, the gravy ladle has been missing ever since you left. Mabel wrote back the next day by email. Dear David, I’m not saying you’re sleeping with Stephanie.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: But the fact is, if she was sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Power to the mothers.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: We need it. These kids are wiping me out. I’m exhausted. My kids were perfect until they were 18 months. Then they started displaying character traits from my in-laws. I pray for the children all the time. Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for the fact that we do believe Your promises. Thank you Father for foundations that are strong. Because of You, You are the foundation that is strong. And when we’re built on You, settled on You, living in You, abiding in You, hidden as the Scripture says, hidden in You. We can be strong. Father, help us now to examine this word in Joshua, and to understand what it is to be an overcomer. That is what this day is about, Lord. We desire to be overcomers. We need to be. Life is hard, and You are good, and all things are possible through You. Help us now, Father, as you illuminate Your word. Amen. If you do have a Bible, turn to Joshua 3. Being an overcomer. I think, when we think of overcoming, very often we think of physical maladies. We think of the great Joni Eareckson Tada, who in a diving accident, became a quadriplegic. We think of those who have survived horrible things. I spoke at a retreat last year in Sacramento, California, and arrived at the airport, and this lovely woman, Sue, picked me up. Strawberry colored hair and freckles, and she, uh, has told me that she had recently had a double mastectomy. And she explained to me it was a win win situation. And I said, “Win win, tell me about that.” And she said, “Well, if I got better, the glory would go to God. If I got sick, people would pay attention better to my Christianity. In my sickness, my family’s come closer to God, my husband’s deepened in his faith. If I die, I’m going to be with Him.” I said, “You should be teaching this weekend, not me.” Win win. I don’t know if I’m there.

John: You’re listening to Ellie Lofaro on today’s episode of Focus on the Family. And we have a CD of this entire presentation available, uh, for you when you make a donation of any amount. Just call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or donate and request that CD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Ellie: You can all think of an overcomer in your life. Maybe you are one. Tragic circumstances, difficulties. I know a woman in Virginia who two little boys have been diagnosed with cancer, six months apart. And special agencies from the government are calling her to see if maybe they’re sitting on some type of property or some chemical is in their midst. And when you speak to her and ask, “How is that going? What is that like? Are you mad at God? Isn’t once enough?” She said, “You know, I had to come to grips with what’s the very, very, very worst thing that could happen to those little boys. Physically, they will die, but they will immediately in God’s presence.” And then I asked myself, “What am I so upset about?” Paris is pretty sharp, and she’s like, “Mom, I want Jesus to come back, but after the wedding.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: When I was a young Christian, I used to hear the women of faith, the great women of my church say, “Oh, dear Lord Jesus, come. Come. Take us out of here.” And I thought, “Wow, they must be so unhappy.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Life’s a party, why do they want it to rush? I understand now, when we look at headlines, and we look at abuse, and we look at what’s happening with certain kidnappings and homes and sex rings, and all those things. That we like to somehow lock them in a white room, wouldn’t we? But we can’t do that. And you grandmas know what it’s like and watch it happen again to grandchildren that you’d give your life for. You’d do anything to protect them. A non-Christian neighbor with the terrorism and the anthrax was quite an issue in the DC area. We live 25 minutes from the pentagon. She called me to let me know that she had a plan, an emergency evacuation management plan for her only child. And I listened, and I thought, “How sad that she thinks her plan will protect that child.” We can’t protect anybody. People say to me, “You, you’re not afraid to go on planes? Doesn’t bother you?” And I said, “What can happen on a plane that, you know, it can happen in a supermarket.” You’re not in control of your life, are you? No, we are overcomers, and we know from Proverbs 31 that she laughed at the days to come. Why did she laugh? Had she had a lobotomy?

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: She laughs because the good guys win in the end. She laughs because the King is coming. She laughs because she lives forever. She lives forever. I wrote a book, just a very small amount of copies, of a few thousand, called Bonding with the Blond Women.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: You’ll never guess how I picked that title.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: My speaking had stopped. The radio had stopped. I moved, and God said, one day, when I was complaining about working in a cafeteria, “I want you to love the blond women.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Don’t make me be friends with the blond women, God.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Yes. You’re gonna be friends with the blond women. We’ve never owned a new house. We’ve always had used houses in New York. We got to have a new house in Virginia. Everybody’s doing the same thing. Putting in the carpeting, getting the trees, the mulch, the painting, the windows, the, the gutters, all that. And, and I knocked on 33 doors, and invited 33 women to a Bible study. Told I wasn’t a theologian or an expert at anything, but I loved God, and I thought the Bible was helpful for life. Three of them came. That’s amazing. That was four years ago. Now it’s a morning and night group, 52.

Audience: (Laughter, clapping)

Ellie: That’s not about me. That’s about people who are hungry. And the blond women are coming to the Bible study, and they’ve been in my house. And they help me to lose weight. They don’t think fat jokes are funny. In New York, we love fat jokes. I was gaining two pounds a year and proud of it. And life has changed, and people are hungry. Women have graduate degrees. Women have talent, they have positions. They have full painting in the right places in their homes. But somewhere, somewhere, they left this, at first Holy Communion, at confirmation, at the altar. At the cemetery. Somewhere they were mad and decided this didn’t matter anymore. And it is so exciting, so exciting. I love it. They raise their hand, and one woman says, whose husband is very successful, “Ellie, my Bible’s defective.” “Why? What happened? What is it?” “There’s no red ink in the beginning.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: And a woman who’s a successful accountant wants to know what’s God’s turnaround time on prayer.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: It has been so refreshing. If you are not hanging out with women who don’t look like you, you’re missing something. You’re missing something. I love God’s promises. I love that we are overcomers. I love that we get to live forever. Now, just to give you a little background here, we’re entering the promised land in Joshua 1. Joshua and the people are prepared, the River Jordan is going to be crossed, and a memorial will be erected. We know that Moses did not get to enter in. We know that whole generation did not get to enter in. They were complainers, they were gripers, they were mopers. They were procrastinators, and they did not get to enter in. God waited until all the disobedient people were gone. He will pick out the people that are causing trouble. He will remove the murmurers and the scoffers. Preparation. Joshua 3. Verse 5. Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and cross over ahead of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant, and went ahead of the people. Now, the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I’ll begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel.” There he is again, making somebody great. “I’m going to exalt you, Joshua. That they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. You shall moreover command priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” Then Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “Come here, and hear the word of the Lord.” And Joshua said, “By this, you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from the before the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, Girgashite, the New Jerseyite, and the termite.”

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Sorry, Jersey.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Behold the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the Earth is crossing overhead into the Jordan. Now, then take for yourselves 12 men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe, and it shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests, when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark, when they’re in the Jordan, when they shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, then the Jordan shall be cut off. And the waters which are flowing down shall stand up in one heap. The Jews are tired. They’ve been traveling 40 years. That’s because there was a man up front who would not ask for directions.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Sorry. Sorry.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Three men were walking along a river, and it was a terrible storm. They were taking a lovely hike, and a horrible storm, and they were Christian men, and they were just having a nice hike in the woods, and, and the storm was so amazing, and they had to get back over this river that they had crossed. There was no way to do it. The river suddenly was going 80 miles an hour, and one man said, “Lord, Lord, Lord, give me the strength to cross the river.” He jumped in the river, and he swam across, and he just made it, almost drowned. Spitting and breathing hard. The second man said, “Lord, give me the strength and the tools to cross the river.” And God put a little rowboat right there, and he rowed with all his might, and he got across this river. And the third said, “Lord, give me the strength and the tools and the wisdom to cross the river.” God turned him into a woman, she read the map, and she crossed over the foot-

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: She just crossed over the bridge 10 yards up.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Directions. So there has to be preparation. We have to have some sense of preparing. When the cancer comes, and you have not prepared in your faith, it’s late. When the death comes, a woman in my Bible study had just asked Jesus into her heart, and she called me. I was doing a retreat in Nashville, on the cell phone, and she said, “Please pray for us. We’re on the way to hospital. I found Corey dead in his bed this morning.” Two and a half years old. Some type of extreme, unusual seizure. And as I got in the reception line after the mass, I put my face next to hers, and her face was all wet, and she whispered, “I don’t get it.” I said, “It’s okay, Maggie, you don’t have to get it.” You know, ladies, there are some things we’re not gonna get on this side of the veil. There are some things we’re just not gonna get. But do we believe? But do we trust? But can we say, “He is God, and He is a good God.” My sister’s neighbor committed suicide. He hung himself by the remote of the garage. And my sister is not a capitol C Christian, which is what I call Christians who report for duty every day. And she’s a good woman, and I believe that she’s close to asking Jesus into her life. Next time I visited her, the teenage boy who found his father and let him down from the ceiling was out in the street, just mechanically bouncing the ball, bouncing the ball. Shooting, bouncing, bouncing, shooting. And I said, “Michelle, have you been over there?” She goes, “Well, no. I- I took a casserole when it first happened, but I haven’t been back. I don’t even, I wouldn’t know what to say.” If you’re a Christian, you need to sit on the end of that hospital bed with more than, “Good luck, hang in there.” If you’re a Christian, you need to have something to say at the cemetery when the casket is lowered. We are overcomers. We are women of faith. We are women of substance. It is not, “Hang in there. Do your best. Good luck. Come what may.” He is God. We will live forever. We will meet again. That is a promise.

John: Well, Ellie Lofaro shares so plainly, convincingly, doesn’t she, and I really appreciate her compelling message about living out our faith, and being bold in sharing the Gospel with others. This is Focus on the Family, and we’re gonna hear more about that how that dynamic faith will sustain you through difficult days next time.

Jim: You know, John, I don’t know how people get by without believing in a loving Savior who cares for you. It makes all the difference. And here at Focus on the Family, we want to always point you back to the Lord. And His Word, which contains all the answers we need for this life. Recently, a- a woman named Katie Joy sent us this note in response to our broadcast. She said, “Thank you for the difference Focus on the Family has made in my life. I grew up in a healthy home, but when I first got married, I struggled with some pretty heavy issues. Where did I turn? Focus on the Family, which turned me back to God.” I love that. She went on to say, “Now I have four little kids and am training to run a marathon, so I spend many hours running alone, listening to Focus on the Family podcast. I come back from my runs physically exhausted, but spiritually strong. I live far away from family, and far away from any sort of Bible Belt. Thank you Focus on the Family for being my Bible Belt, and for encouraging me to live for God’s glory.”

John: I love that.

Jim: Isn’t that good?

John: It’s, uh, it’s a wonderful thing. I like the idea of us being a Bible Belt for Katie Joy.

Jim: (laughs)

John: Uh, girding her up for the challenges of every day. That’s really the best kind of outreach we can do.

Jim: It really is, John, and we are here to help people like Kate Joy and you to help your families to thrive in Christ. And if you need some advice and encouragement, please give us a call. Our friendly staff are here to listen to your concerns and pray with you. And if you need more in-depth help, we’ll schedule a call back from one of our caring Christian counselors. And we have an amazing team here to assist you. I’m very proud of them. And if you can, uh, please donate to the work we’re doing here at Focus on the Family. We’re a nonprofit organization, and we rely on your donations. That’s it. And when you give generously, a gift of any amount, we’d like to send you a CD copy of this complete broadcast from Ellie Lofaro as our way of saying, “Thank you.”

John: And you can reach us and donate when you call 800-A-FAMILY. That’s 800-232-6459. Or online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. By the way, if you enjoyed today’s program, please tell a friend to tune in next time as Ellie continues sharing the hope that we have in Christ.

Preview:

Ellie: People are disappointing. People break your heart. They let you down. Where did you think you were gonna find the perfect person? His name is Jesus. Certainly not in, in a spouse for those of you that are married. Husbands make lousy saviors.

Audience: (laughs)

Ellie: Frank is not the center of my world. He’s so relieved.

Audience: (laughs)

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.

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