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Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Jim Daly

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Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame-honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 2.9 million listeners a week on more than 1,000 radio stations across the U.S. He is husband to Jean and father to Trent and Troy.

It's not every day that you find a high-ranking Catholic prelate standing with a bullhorn on the steps of a state capital building, leading the public in prayer for the defense and protection of pre-born life.

But that's exactly what happened earlier this week as Denver's Archbishop Samuel Aquila rallied the faithful and denounced Senate Bill 175.

The bill would have enshrined abortion in law and prohibited any incremental pro-life laws from being passed in the state of Colorado.

Thankfully, the bill never made it for a vote. The very legislators who introduced the measure decided last evening to spike it.

Why? 

Because pro-life supporters turned out in force and opposed the measure. Our friends stood on the steps in the cold and prayed. They wrote emails. They called - so much, in fact, that several legislators took their phones off the hook.

Ironically, the bill was called the "Reproductive Health Freedom Act." But the measure would have enslaved the most vulnerable. If passed, common-sense restrictions on abortion, such as late-term abortion bans or safety standards for the abortion industry, could not have become law in Colorado. It was also have threatened Colorado's existing parental notification law for abortions for minors.

I was up at the state capital yesterday afternoon, and I saw firsthand the fervor and passion of those who support life.

I was moved. I was encouraged. I was inspired.

Our culture has grown increasingly cynical and jaded when it comes to the power of one voice. We often hear about how government is broken, how it's deaf to the will of the people, how our interests are marginalized and made meaningless in the face of the powerful and well-funded.

Sadly, some of those stereotypes are true.

 But last evening, life won in the state of Colorado.

It won because people turned out and showed up.

Life won because the Lord still hears and answers the prayers of His people.

All of this unfolded, of course, in the midst of Holy Week, the most sobering and sacred time on the Christian calendar. Many expressed outrage at the timing, some calling it akin to a poke in the eye to people of faith.

But I think there is some symmetry to this now, as believers prepare to gather tonight to remember and celebrate the Lord's Last Supper and turn their attention to the Passion of Good Friday. From the cross on Golgatha, Jesus forgave those very men who drove the nails into his hands, feet and side.

"Father, forgive them," He cried, "for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

In much the same way, I'm inclined to think that many who support abortion, including those in the Colorado state legislature, don't know what they're doing. They don't see it the way you and I do. Believe it or not, they think they're helping women. They think they're helping children.

They're wrong. You and I know they're blinded to the truth. In many ways we can't understand it.

But if Jesus could forgive those who crucified Him, then I must pray for those with whom I vehemently disagree, even legislators who would brazenly attempt to take away my freedoms with the simple passage of a bad bill. 


Learn more about “Irreplaceable,” the one-night theatrical event showing on May 6


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The New York Times ran an interesting opinion piece this weekend: “Raising a Moral Child.” It was a good piece filled with interesting advice. The principles the author gleaned from various studies easily translated into practical action items parents  could implement in their homes:

  • Praise the character behind the action.
  • Teach children to feel guilt, not shame, when they misbehave.
  • Model good behavior.

And yet, something felt… incomplete. Not with the article itself, mind you – but for us as believers. After all, it’s a secular newspaper and not a Christian devotional. But the “end goal” of parenting is not simply to raise a “moral” child.

Of course we want kids who, like the author described, are “kind, compassionate and helpful.”

But as Christians, we were meant for even more. After all, Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could be “moral” or manage our sins more effectively.

A Better Goal than Morality

 Jesus died so we could be set free from sin. He gave His life to make us into new creations and God’s children, no longer apart from Him.

To preach anything else is to deny the Gospel, which shows us that man is not justified by his works, but by faith.

My friend Dr. Al Mohler has it right when he writes:

We sin against Christ and we misrepresent the Gospel when we suggest to sinners that what God demands of them is moral improvement in accordance with the Law. Moralism makes sense to sinners, for it is but an expansion of what we have been taught from our earliest days. But moralism is not the Gospel, and it will not save. The only gospel that saves is the Gospel of Christ. As Paul reminded the Galatians, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” [Gal. 4:4-5]

That line – “we misrepresent the Gospel when we suggest to sinners” – can be especially convicting to us as parents when we realize our children are sinners. That’s why, as desirable as raising moral kids can be, that can’t be our primary goal as Christian parents. Rather, we need to be concerned with showing them Jesus, the One who will make their hearts right and who will give them His righteousness.

There’s no better time to start introducing our children to the Gospel message of grace and salvation than Holy Week and the celebration of this Easter weekend.

Learn about “Irreplaceable,” the one-night theatrical event showing on May 6


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 A couple of months ago I blogged about marriage and joy. In that post, I encouraged Christian couples to live out a marriage that exemplified the goodness of God’s design by enjoying each other and having fun together. One sentence summed up the crux of that post:

It does the culture and the Church a world of good when Christians mix in joy and pleasure into the message of commitment and sacrifice in marriage.”

Today I want to introduce you to a husband and wife who can show us all a thing or two about applying that simple truth.

Marlow and Frances Cowan were visiting the Mayo Clinic for routine check-ups. In between the medical tests and visits with the doctors, they would play songs on a piano at the hospital’s atrium. The last musical number they played – a fun little tune featuring a comical synchronized routine – was captured by a woman in the small crowd. That woman put it on YouTube – and the rest, as they say, is history.

The world fell in love with the couple. Married for 62 years at the time of the recording, the pair exudes joy, playfulness and love. You can’t watch the video – which has more than 9 million views – without smiling. (Mobile device readers can watch the video at this link.)

The Cowans Have Good Reason for Their Joy

Marlow and Fran are motivated by their faith. In an interview where the pair talks about their famous viral video and travelling act, Marlow says, “Whatever we can do that will make life more joyful for others, we’ll do it... We’re praising the Lord. Make a joyful noise! That’s basically what we’re here for. That’s what we’ve been doing all our life.”

And as they serve God and others, Marlow and Frances Cowan are also helping promote healthy marriages. Quickly scroll through the YouTube comments and you’ll find people saying things like

  • “I’m going to be like them when I’m married”
  • “After 62 years of marriage… it’s no wonder they’ve kept the spark alive after all those years”
  • “It’s beautiful to see two people age together full of love and happiness. That’s how I want to be with my wife when I’m older!”

When a watching world sees how joy and commitment can coincide in a marriage, it hungers for what God has designed.

And that’s a great thing.

***

In case you’re wondering how the Cowans are doing, the Mayo Clinic reports the pair is still going strong. Marlow celebrated his 95th birthday in February. 

 

Learn about “Irreplaceable,” the one-night theatrical event showing on May 6

 


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I’ve been blogging a lot (here, here, here and here) about “Irreplaceable,” Focus on the Family’s first movie debuting in a one-night theater event on May 6. In these posts, I mention how Tim Sisarich, the former executive director of Focus on the Family New Zealand, serves as the host to the documentary on family.

On today’s broadcast, you’ll get to meet Tim.

God’s divine providence led us to pick Tim to host of our movie and its DVD-curriculum companion, “The Family Project.” I say that because when we chose Tim to help lead this multi-year project, we didn’t know that he was on his own personal journey as he filmed “Irreplaceable.”

“Irreplaceable”: The Story Behind the Story 

Tim was raised in a Christian family, but it was by no means a “perfect” family. Tim’s dad was serving a prison sentence for embezzlement when Tim was born. It was during his time in prison that he came to know Jesus as Savior.

 But as we all know, while salvation is a gift we instantaneously receive, the road of sanctification is not quick. And it was a tough road for Tim’s father – one that hurt the Sisarich family as he battled alcoholism, anger, societal pressures and even infidelity.

As you can imagine, the scars Tim received during his childhood were something he had brought into his own marriage and family as an adult.

So as Tim spoke with experts and real-life families, God used the conversations he had to shape his heart and to help Tim deal with issues he thought he had left in the past.

So when we tell you that “Irreplaceable” highlights the themes of redemption – it’s because it does. Tim Sisarich is proof of that – and as you watch the movie, you’ll get to see how it gave Tim hope for his own life.

Tim shares his experience in our two-part broadcast, “The Irreplaceable Value of Family” with the same unflinching honesty he demonstrated in the movie. During our conversation we talk how understanding God’s grace frees us up the obligation of putting up a false front and how God modeled family before He created the world. Tim also opens up about how he used to try to control his wife, and what God taught him as he faced the open-heart surgery of his infant son.

You can to the broadcast on the radio, online, or via our free, downloadable app.

I’ll leave you with a light-hearted video montage highlighting a behind-the-scenes view into the filming of “Irreplaceable.” Those of you visiting from a mobile device can watch the trailer here.

Learn more about “Irreplaceable,” the one-night theatrical event showing on May 6


Follow me on Twitter @Dalyfocus
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Keep up with Focus on the Family on Facebook
Sign up for my weekly e-newsletter

                             

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