Viral Picture Captures Story of Lifelong Love

Why would a photo of an elderly man eating lunch with his wife go viral across the Internet? Maybe because the simple image captures the true richness of love and intimacy within a marriage like few things can.

Lifelong love2The photo first appeared on social media along with the unnamed man’s story. He met his wife when they were 17. It was love at first sight. They dated for a short time but lost touch when he left to serve in World War II, and her family relocated to another part of the country.

But he thought about her every day.

By the time the war ended, and he returned home, he had a new mission: he was going to find her. For 10 long years, he searched. But for every promising lead there was an equally disappointing dead end. Friends and family tried to discourage him. “You’re crazy,” they told him. But he wouldn’t give up. He remained committed to his search and refused to date anyone else. And to the criticism he received, he simply responded, “I am crazy. Crazy in love.”

Then one day, on a trip to California, the man stopped by a random barber shop for a haircut. As the barber snipped away, the man made small talk and shared his story. The barber listened with interest then did something unexpected. He set down his scissors and phoned his daughter. A few minutes later she appeared in the doorway.

It was her!

It turns out, she hadn’t dated anyone all those years either, and she had been searching for him. The man proposed right there on the spot, and they were married for 55 years.

But there’s still the question: why would a snapshot of the man eating lunch with his wife go viral? Because she passed away several years ago. Despite being together for over five decades, she had left him too soon. Now, he takes her picture with him everywhere he goes. And on any given day, if you’re in the area, you’ll spot him in a local diner, eating lunch, and gazing fondly at a photo of his lifelong sweetheart.

As the man said, “I was a very rich man. Not with money, but with love.”

In many ways, our culture has reduced marriage to a social contract or even redefined it entirely. But the fact that a simple photo has swept across the Internet shows we hunger for something deeper and more meaningful in our relationships. It shows we’re hungry for what God designed: the total blending of two lives, a “one-flesh” union, in which a man and a woman become extensions of one another, just as it is with Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:30-32).

Lifelong love1

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Honda Admits Airbag Reporting Failure (11/21/14)

Company says it didn’t properly notify feds, faces fine; GM’s new quality, purchasing chiefs; VW sits out Super Bowl; BMW i3 is all green.

Takata Grilled in Senate Hearing (11/20/14)

Lawmakers seek independent investigation of airbag crisis; ZF, TRW deal on track; Fiat 500X ready for snow; Chevy concept racer.

A Daughter Shares Her Father’s Influence

Television often portrays dads as blubbering simpletons or even optional accessories to a family. Yet, we all know that dads matter, for good or bad. To lift up this truth, I want to share a story today from a daughter on how her dad positively influenced her.

A father’s influence on his daughter’s life can mean the difference between her entering a good marriage or a bad one. Here’s how Glenn Stanton, one of our family experts, summarizes the research:

Girls with involved fathers, therefore, are more likely to select for themselves good suitors and husbands because they have a proper standard by which to judge all candidates. Fathers themselves also help weed out bad candidates.

It’s one thing to read about a father’s influence in his daughter’s life from an academic perspective. It’s an entirely different thing, however, to read a daughter’s account of how Glenn’s research proved true in her own life.

They say the most important decision you’ll ever make is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and the second most important is deciding who you’ll marry. I’m glad my dad was around for both.

I have a great father. He isn’t perfect, but he loves Jesus. It was a huge influence on me to see him studying his Bible and humbly living out his faith. I was sitting next to Dad the night a pastor gave an altar call. I whispered to Dad that I felt I should respond. He offered to walk with me, and respected it when his 9-year-old girl solemnly answered, “I should do it alone.”

After college, it was my dad who encouraged my thoughts of pursuing a master’s degree. Dad saw something in me that I never saw in myself. He’s a quiet guy, but when we talked, there was always a complete confidence in his voice when he declared, “If this is what God wants for you, you can do this.”

After graduate school, I met a guy. In many ways, this young man was perfect for me – except he was agnostic. In my naiveté, I thought I could share my faith with him and things would turn out fine. Instead, he stayed resolute in his rejection of Jesus, and I fell hopelessly in love. After some months of dating, we were talking marriage.

Mom has always been my best friend, but her pleading with me didn’t move me as much as it did when my dad decided to have a serious conversation with me. He told me that as much as he wanted to, he didn’t approve of what I was doing. He didn’t forbid anything, he didn’t scream and he didn’t carry on. But he was dead serious and very clear: If I continued down the path I was on, I’d be unevenly yoked.

Dad’s words shook me. As I’d drive to work, I’d think about what it would do to my dad to walk me down the aisle to a man who didn’t love Jesus. I thought about how immense Dad’s spiritual influence was on me, and how tough it would be to raise my kids to have a thriving Christian faith if the father I chose for them didn’t share those beliefs.

I was a wreck.

My boyfriend had noticed that I was becoming increasingly apprehensive. Finally, he asked, “If I never change and become religious, can you accept me as I am?”

And that’s when I ended the relationship. It wasn’t pretty. I was devastated. I remember the time I called my dad during my lunch hour sobbing, asking him to stay on the phone with me lest I cave and call my ex-boyfriend. Poor Dad has never been good with crying, but he stayed on the line for the hour, talking with me and praying with me.

I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that without my dad I would be married to someone who didn’t know Christ.

It was a good day, six years later, when my dad walked me down the aisle to a gentleman who loves the Lord. Now when I see my husband with our kids, I thank God for giving me a dad whose influence made it possible for my children to carry on the legacy of faith.

Stories like these should inspire us to live out our roles as parents more intentionally. Day in and day out, what we do as dads matter. The little things our kids notice, the small tidbits of advice we give – it’s all part of investing in our children. And, as this daughter pointed out, it’s also part of investing in our children’s children.

If you want to learn more about how dads influence their daughters, you can listen to today’s broadcast featuring Dr. Kevin Leman, “Fathers: Having an Impact on Your Daughter’s Life.” You can listen on your local radio station, online, or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.

The post A Daughter Shares Her Father’s Influence appeared first on Jim Daly.

Why We Share the Blame for the Redefinition of Marriage

Facts are stubborn things,” wrote John Adams. “Whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

And so, by that measure, there’s been a lot of conjecture and spin surrounding the push to redefine the sacred institution of marriage.

But what are the facts? Where does the issue concerning same-sex marriage currently stand?

Consider:

  • Same-sex marriage is now legal or nearly so in 35 states.
  •   Of those 35 states, only 12 came about via ballot box or the state legislature. Judicial decree accounts for legalization of homosexual unions in the remaining 23.
  •  In a rare moment of good legal news, the 6th Circuit federal court ruled last month that marriage amendments passed by popular vote in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee were constitutional.
  •  That said, the Supreme Court is likely to pick up one or more of the various cases that are in conflict. If they do, many analysts believe there are enough votes on the current court to mandate the legalization of same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

And so, if those are the facts, what are we, as Christians who support traditional one-man, one-woman marriage, to do?

I’m asked that question a lot by members of the media. I see these interviews as real opportunities to share about the beauty and truth of God’s design for marriage. Just prior to the election, I spoke with Jeremy Diamond of CNN about all of this. We had a good conversation which resulted in a fair article. However, the headline seemed to indicate that Christian leaders, myself included, were backing off our commitment to marriage. Jeremy didn’t write about me backing off, nor did he quote me saying any such thing, but that sentiment was captured in the headline.

Here’s a fact: Nothing could be further from the truth!

I’ve sometimes noted in these interviews that with activist judges disregarding millennia of history and tradition regarding the very nature of marriage—not to mention God’s revealed design—a marriage license from the state no longer holds the same meaning from a Christian perspective. In essence, activist judges have gutted the state’s definition of what marriage truly is.

But, you know what?  Judges aren’t the only ones to blame for this assault on God’s design and definition of marriage.

We, as Christians, share a portion of the blame, too. Here’s why:

Decades of no-fault divorce have undermined the concept of lifelong commitment. Many Christians simply tire of their spouse and allow themselves to be whisked away by a fantasy, that the grass will be greener on the other side of the fence. Premarital sex and cohabitation have become commonplace among those professing to be Christian. Calls to our Counseling department reveal that Internet pornography is destroying marriages on a daily basis. And many individuals, again including younger evangelicals are simply choosing to forego the altar altogether. In fact, I saw a recent report saying that for the first time ever, more than half of U.S. adults are unmarried.

At Focus, we vigorously continue our efforts to uphold the concept of one-man, one-woman marriage, but currently the trends are not moving in our favor. So, what if the Supreme Court decrees that across our nation marriage is no longer reserved for the union of one man and one woman? Does that mean marriage ceases to have meaning for the Christian?

On the contrary, I think our witness to the beauty and goodness of true marriage becomes all the more important. It will be up to us to show a fraying culture that marriage is so much more than “just a piece of paper,” or merely an association of any two or more people who profess to love each other.

Marriage is a sacred union of a man and a woman that brings with it myriad benefits to spouses, their children, and society at large that simply cannot be replicated by any other relationship. I would go so far as to say a society cannot ultimately flourish, even long survive, without stable marriages at its core.

Above and beyond that, for Christians, is the recognition of what our marriages symbolize. In some mysterious way, the Bible tells us, the husband-wife bond is a reflection, a miniature representation, of the relationship Jesus has with His bride, the Church (Eph. 5:31-32). When we demonstrate unwavering commitment and sacrificial love to our spouse, we are mirroring to our culture the very love Christ has for His people. What an awesome responsibility and privilege!

That’s why I take every chance I get when speaking with Christian audiences to urge us to pour into our marriages. Research tells us that for those Christians who take their faith seriously, the divorce rate is notably lower, but even so it is still far too high. What kind of testimony might we have to our neighbors if our divorce rate as believers was but a fraction of the general population?

Here at Focus we are doing everything in our power to see that vision become a reality. We invest a great deal of our effort and energy into creating resources to help couples not just survive, but thrive.

Roughly one-third of our radio broadcasts are devoted especially to the topic of strengthening marriages. Our website is packed with helpful information, including in-depth answers to hundreds of the most frequent marriage-related questions we receive. I’m also very excited about our new Family Project video curriculum, a long-awaited follow-up to our Truth Project series. It details the incredible importance of God’s basic design for the family, along with its companion feature film, “Irreplaceable.”

In addition, we have a licensed professional counseling staff standing at the ready to help with marriage (and parenting) challenges and crises, all at no charge. And earlier this year, we welcomed the amazing folks at the National Institute of Marriage into our Focus family. They do great work with on-site intensives that have helped rescue thousands of marriages from the brink of divorce.

In short, whatever struggles or questions you may be facing in your marriage, we can help.

Am I concerned about the state of marriage in our nation? Certainly, but I’m not disheartened. I’m also disinclined to lay all the blame for our current circumstances at the feet of rogue judges or even those who advocate for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

It’s time for us to own up to our own sin and get our own house in order. We can educate, encourage and pray for the culture – but we cannot control it. However, we do have it within us to take our own marital commitment seriously.

However challenging the season, I’m actually excited about the opportunity ahead of us. As our culture continues to drift from the stable moorings of our past and we experience ever greater chaos and confusion as a nation, our neighbors, friends, and colleagues at work and school will be searching for answers in their own lives.

Will we be there to point them to the Gospel and to the One who can show them the Way?

One of the most powerful ways we can do that is by loving our spouse the way Christ loves His church.

I welcome your feedback and would like to hear from you. How do you see this?

The post Why We Share the Blame for the Redefinition of Marriage appeared first on Jim Daly.

Automakers Tied to Takata (11/19/14)

Switching to a new supplier may be difficult, analyst says; Bentley’s ‘Grand’ car; Maybach’s lush interior; Leno gives an SRT.

Takata: Full Recall Could Risk Lives (11/19/14)

Airbag maker says nationwide effort would strain thin supplies; Audi’s future styling; fresh Explorer, 300; Mazda’s new baby.

How to Help Your Family Celebrate Advent

Have you noticed how, every year, Christmas seems to edge out Thanksgiving more and more? It’s now par for the course to see Pilgrim decorations living side-by-side with Santas on store shelves.

A U.K. researcher confirmed the trend: He found people start thinking about Christmas in August.

Isn’t that something?

Why would that be?

Perhaps people are yearning for Christmas. They’re yearning for the warmth and joy and happy memories.

Deep down, though, we’re longing for a Savior.

This longing isn’t new, of course. Our culture has just missed the point with its over-commercialization. It’s trying to fill a legitimate need through illegitimate means.

Yet that fundamental desire for Jesus remains, as it always has. We ache for the redemption He brings.

That’s why, since the early Church, Christians have observed Advent. It’s a yearly time of anticipation where we prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate Jesus’ earthly birth. This time is meant to awaken in us a yearning for the newborn Messiah, an expectancy birthed from an awareness of our own sinful condition and need. It reminds us we are to anticipate His second return.

And as our culture strays further from the true meaning of Christmas, it’s no wonder so many families are now choosing to return to the time-honored tradition of observing Advent. It serves to correct our human tendency to cheapen what is sacred about Christmas. It helps us focus our attention back on Jesus, the object of our heart’s desire.

My family and I have greatly benefitted from our annual observances of Advent. I think this practice has helped our sons better grasp the true meaning of the Christmas season.

If you don’t already celebrate Advent at your home, I’d encourage you to consider doing so this year. Your whole family will be blessed.

Along those lines, Focus’ Thriving Family magazine is offering a free resource designed to help moms and dads lead their family during Advent, which will be celebrated starting Sunday, Nov. 30 this year. It’s a “Journey to the Manger” Advent calendar you can download. This resource is designed to help you count down to Christmas and teach your kids about the people God used to introduce His Son to the world. Your family will love the Christ-centered activities included in our calendar, including puzzles, Scriptures, prayers and more.

As we stand on the cusp of this year’s holiday season, I pray the Holy Spirit will awaken a wonder in all of us – including our kids – at the incredible gift of Emmanuel, God with us.

Ewanick Bets Big on Hydrogen (11/18/14)

Former GM exec plans 19 filling stations in Calif.; dealers as tech teachers?; Tesla plant’s X-Factor; Ford’s ignition issue.

A Life as a Price-Fixer (11/17/14)

Jail time, and a special offer from bosses; NADA predicts 16.9 million U.S. sales; residual winners; ‘Black Label’ by Lincoln.