Links & Quotes

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“Here’s an Advent illustration for kids—and those of us who used to be kids and remember what it was like. Suppose you and your mom get separated in the grocery store, and you start to get scared and panic and don’t know which way to go, and you run to the end of an aisle, and just before you start to cry, you see a shadow on the floor at the end of the aisle that looks just like your mom. It makes you really happy and you feel hope. But which is better? The happiness of seeing the shadow, or having your mom step around the corner and it’s really her? That’s the way it is when Jesus comes to be our High Priest. That’s what Christmas is. Christmas is the replacement of shadows with the real thing.” —John Piper (check out Hebrews 10:1-10)

“God desires to be remembered by man. He has taken unspeakable pains to keep Himself before His creatures, so as to make forgetfulness on their part the greatest of all impossibilities. In everything that God has set before our eyes or ears, He says, Remember Me. In every star, every flower, every mountain, every stream—in every joy, every comfort, every blessing of daily life—God says, Remember Me.” —Horatius Bonar

“God gives us a new revelation of His kindness in the valley of the shadow.” —Oswald Chambers

“Allow yourself one excess: be excessively obedient.” —Francois Fenelon

“satan’s ultimate weapon against us is our own sin. If the death of Jesus takes it away, the chief weapon of the devil is taken out of his hand. He cannot make a case for our death penalty, because the Judge has acquitted us by the death of His Son!” —John Piper

“Without Jesus, we’re trapped in the expectations of others. We’re trapped in living for the approval of our peers. We’re trapped in addictions. We’ve tried to change over and over again, but we don’t have the power needed to escape. Jesus came to give us that power.” —Rick Warren

“Holidays are about history, and if we fail to remember that history or to remind our contemporaries of it, then we will only be confirming their narrow and narcissistic view of ‘history’ as ‘my-story’ and my supposed right to make of my life whatever I will.” —T.M. Moore

John Stonestreet points out the power of hype in our modern culture—Ronda Rousey, Reality TV and Jesus.

Calvary Assembly of God helping the Cedar Springs community see the true meaning of Advent.

Is it really that big of a deal for a Christian to date a non-Christian?

Detroit Tigers fans and New York Yankees fans will enjoy this comparison of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

Sex Obsessed

Fight The New DrugBilly Graham said, “It has always been the mark of decaying civilizations to become obsessed with sex.” Right in the opening pages of the Bible, God lays out the way sex can be fulfilling and productive, and throughout the rest of Scripture (and all of history) we see how trying to get sexual fulfillment any other way is unfulfilling and destructive.

Becky McDonald, the founder of Women At Risk International recently wrote:

“Sexuality is a real subject addressed daily in the journey of healing with the men, women, and children in our care who are facing female circumcision, sexual slavery, torture, rape, and honor killings—the list is endless. There’s no pretending behind our closed doors. I try to read every book—Christian and secular—touted as ground-breaking. None of them are. We are driven by a reality placed in us by the Creator God with legitimate ways, context, and relationship to express our sexuality. If we don’t find those legitimate outlets, we will spend our lives searching for fulfillment in self-destructive ways to fill that God-given need for community, intimacy, relationship, and meaning. We cannot live without intimacy, and here I don’t mean sex. Sex is simply one of the most powerful forms of intimacy. We are not asexual beings. Being Christ-followers, striving for integrity in all things, doesn’t neuter us.”

Pornography is one of the cheap ways men and women try to find satisfaction. But porn not only doesn’t satisfy, it keeps its victims trapped in a downward spiral of dissatisfaction and self-destruction.

Even if you remove the mandates in Scripture, science itself tells us how destructive watching pornography is. An organization I have come to appreciate for their science-based warning about pornography is Fight The New Drug.

Josh McDowell has this word of warning for parents:

“Parents need to take a leading role in encouraging an environment of loving accountability in the home, showing sympathy for present struggles (if there are any) while setting appropriate limits on what should and should not be accessed on mobile devices. Accountability software should be installed on all mobile devices with a clear expectation that there is no room for privacy when it comes to harmful content online. (By the way, if you use Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability, you can now use our Android app to lock down other apps, like unmonitored browsers.)”

If you want help breaking free from the stranglehold of pornography, the folks at Fight The New Drug have a very helpful resource called Fortify. Please click the link and sign up today!

You can break free! You can know the fulfilling, satisfying sex life that God intended for you to have all along! But you must take the first step today… do it God’s way and start really loving!

Links & Quotes

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“With such prayer [‘Praying in the Holy Sprit’ (Jude 20)] it is an absolute certainty that I must succeed with God in prayer. If my prayer were my own prayer, I might not be so sure of it, but if the prayer which I utter be God’s own prayer written on my soul, God is always one with Himself, and what He writes on the heart is only written there because it is written in His purposes.” —Charles Spurgeon

“In the passage where the New Testament says that every one must work [Acts 20:34-35], it gives as a reason ‘in order that he may have something to give to those in need.’ Charity—giving to the poor—is an essential part of Christian morality.” —C.S. Lewis

“Security comes as we put God’s precepts into practice. We’re only as strong as our obedience.” —Max Lucado

Dan Reiland shares 6 things God says to church leaders.

“Mountain lions detect vulnerabilities in their prey and attack the weakest—the young, the sick, the injured. Studies have confirmed this instinctive cruelty. It’s how the mountain lion lives, following the scent of suffering and feasting on whatever he finds. The enemy of your hope and happiness hunts with that same instinct, with a cold-hearted and ruthless hunger for the weak or hurting. satan prowls like a roaring lion.” Read how to overcome the prowlings of the devil.

For anyone struggling with pornography, here is a great source of help: MyPilgrimage.com. Watch the introductory video, and then subscribe!

Here is some good advice for students who are addicted to pornography—

Links & Quotes

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“How may I tell when satan hinders me? I think you may tell thus: first by the object. satan’s object in hindering us is to prevent our glorifying God. If anything has happened to you which has prevented your growing holy, useful, humble, and sanctified, then you may trace that to satan. If the distinct object of the interference to the general current of your life has been that you may be turned from righteousness into sin, then from the object you may guess the author.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Every step on satan’s ground deprives us of the security of the promises of God. Often has ruin followed by not refraining from the first step (cp. Mark 14:54, 71). The only safety is in flight (Genesis 39:10, 12). Run then into ’thy hiding-place, and behind thy shield,’ and boldly bid thy tempter ‘depart from thee’ (Psalm 119:114, 115; cp. Matthew 4:10).” —Charles Bridges

“The corruption of the first sinner consists not in choosing some evil thing (there are no evil things for him to choose) but in preferring a lesser good (himself) before a greater (God).” —C.S. Lewis

“We may think we’re living in dark days, that things are going from bad to worse, and there’s no end in sight. But the truth is just the opposite. satan is back on his heels, bound and reeling; the rulers of this world are deceived and deceiving; the Church is complacent, at least in the West, but always a spiritual tinder box, ready for a new spark of the Spirit; and the Kingdom of God is advancing wherever men and women cling to Jesus’ compelling vision and seek the Kingdom of God as their highest priority in life.” —T.M. Moore

“Science and research are proving that porn harms the brain, damages relationships, and is also linked to prostitution and sex trafficking. Porn is a fantasy that is proven to make it harder for users to have real loving relationships.” Read more reasons why pornography is harmful.

Pastors, check out Rev. Dave Barringer’s spot-on post: confronting the diva pastor.

Sheriff David Clarke has some facts that refute the “Black Lives Matter” chatter.

[VIDEO] Ted Cruz is exactly right. The media doesn’t care about substance, but about style—

Links & Quotes

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“Any fixing of the mind on old evils beyond what is absolutely necessary for repenting our own sins and forgiving those of others is certainly useless and usually bad for us.” —C.S. Lewis

“If I pay my debts in gold, no man can blame me because I do not pay them in silver; and if God gives you spiritual mercies in abundance, instead of temporal ones, He has heard your prayer.” —Charles Spurgeon

“We cannot manipulate God. He makes Himself and His glory known when He will, to whom He will, and in the measure He chooses according to His own pleasure and timing. He is not capricious, and He is not cruel. He waits to make His glory known to those who hope for it when the ‘dosage’ He applies will be precisely appropriate to the need in which we know it. So we must endure at the work of waiting on the Lord, because He knows better than we when and to what extent to bring us into His glory and love.” —T.M. Moore

J. Warner Wallace answers an important question: Would a loving God allow anything bad to happen?

4 reasons women cannot trust Planned Parenthood: (1) They lie to and manipulate women; (2) their business is death (abortion) not health care; (3) they cover-up rape, incest, and sex trafficking; and (4) they want to sell your aborted baby for profit.

GREAT NEWSthe Ohio Senate votes to defund Planned Parenthood!

Dave Barringer shares 6 actions that can turn your marriage around.

If you are battling an addiction, here are 2 underused strategies.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell has good counsel on overcoming barriers—

Links & Quotes

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“What a great responsibility God has laid upon us preachers of His gospel and teachers of His Word. In that future day when God’s wrath is poured out, how are we going to answer? How am I going to answer? I fear there is much we are doing in the name of the Christian church that is wood, hay and stubble destined to be burned up in God’s refining fire. A day is coming when I and my fellow ministers must give account of our stewardship: What kind of a gospel did we preach? Did we make it plain that men and women who are apart from Christ Jesus are lost? Did we counsel them to repent and believe?” —A.W. Tozer

“Prayer pursues God’s glory by treating Him as the inexhaustible reservoir of hope and help. In prayer, we admit our poverty and God’s prosperity, our bankruptcy and His bounty, our misery and His mercy.” —John Piper

“We love beauty with simplicity, and we love the pursuit of knowledge without effeminacy. We employee wealth properly, for use rather than for noisy display, and we do not consider poverty to be a disgrace but do regard it as shameful for someone not to seek to escape poverty through labor. We citizens of Athens care for both our own domestic concerns and for the affairs of state; those of us engaged in business are not lacking in understanding of public matters. For we alone consider those who avoid engagement in public affairs not as ‘uninvolved’ but as useless. And we, as we judge and reflect carefully on matters, do not consider words to be a hindrance to actions. Rather, the real hindrance to action is to enter into whatever must be done without taking forewarning through discussion.” —Pericles, speaking about Athenian culture, quoted in the Archaeological Study Bible

The serious mental health costs of watching pornography. Don’t be fooled: porn is dangerous!

Tim Dilena talks about the difference between truth and “viral fame” in this video.

Truth! Why marriage shouldn’t end your dating life.

I like Seth Godin’s thoughts on our vocabulary. “It’s not about knowing needlessly fancy words (but it’s often hard to know if the fancy word is needless until after you learn it). Your vocabulary reflects the way you think (and vice versa). It’s tempting to read and write at the eighth-grade level, but there’s a lot more leverage when you are able to use the right word in the right moment.” Read more in Does Vocabulary Matter?

“Playboy” Is Covering Up?!

Playboy logoPart of me wanted to cheer at the news that Playboy magazine will no longer publish pictures of nude women. But then I begin to ask myself, “Why would they do this?”

Here are some reasons they might be making this move…

1. Internet pornography is easier to access, cheaper to produce, and much more titillating than purchasing a magazine with pictures taken of professional models by professional photographers. 

The New York Times said, “For a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance.”

So basically internet pornography is putting a pornographic magazine on the ropes, because internet-produced porn is largely fueled by sex slaves.

2. Our porn-saturated society is no longer turned-on by the so-called “soft porn” that Playboy produced.

In their press release, Playboy CEO Scott Flanders said, “The political and sexual climate of 1953, the year Hugh Hefner introduced Playboy to the world, bears almost no resemblance to today. We are more free to express ourselves politically, sexually and culturally today…” (emphasis added). In another interview, Mr. Flanders said that nudity is “just passé at this juncture.” Nothing to see here!

So we now need to “express ourselves” more graphically in order to get the same sexual high than the generation before us.

3. Making Playboy a “PG-13” magazine helps legitimize the product.

The magazine will still feature pin-up centerfolds, but that doesn’t do anything to help with the objectification of women. In fact, it makes it worse. Making Playboy “safe for work” makes ogling scantily-clad women “acceptable” and “normal” for anyone who wants to lust.

Make no mistake about it, this is a plain-and-simple business move for Playboy. This does nothing to protect our society from the ravages of lust and pornography.

Speaking of which: if you struggle with lust or porn, here is a great resource to help you break free.

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