The Porn Circuit is a great book to make you aware of the dangers of pornography. You can read my full book review of this free downloadable book here, and check out the first set of quotes I shared by clicking here.
Here are some additional quotes specifically to help you break free from the hold pornography has on your life.
Your #1 strategy … LEARN TO HATE PORN!
Hate what it does to you, to your relationships, and to those involved in sex trafficking because of the porn industry.
#2 … Create some positive activities you can do when you’re tempted to look at porn.
“The prefrontal cortex is the decision-making logical part of the brain, and each time that a person resists temptation and each time a positive habit is reinforced, the prefrontal cortex gets stronger. That means a person’s willpower grows and the cues and cravings for porn use grow weaker.”
“This approach (of introducing positive habits) makes plastic sense because it grows a new brain circuit that gives pleasure and triggers dopamine release which, as we have seen, rewards the new activity and consolidates and grows new neural connections. This new circuit can eventually compete with the older one, and according to use it or lose it, the pathological networks will weaken. With this treatment we don’t so much ‘break’ bad habits as replace bad behaviors with better ones.” —Dr. Norman Doidge
“Whatever rewarding activity is pursued, it needs to be an activity that is reoccurring. Building new rewarding neural pathways requires time and ongoing repetition:
#3 … Start using the 3-second rule.
“When watching TV, walking through the mall, or driving past billboards, temptation can strike when least expected. Many therapists recommend using the 3-Second Rule, which involves three steps:
#4 … Don’t forget to watch out for H.A.L.T. times.
“Physical care is vital to vigilance. HALT is the acronym often used by therapists to remind people of when they can be most vulnerable it stands for: hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Simply going to bed on a regular schedule to get a good night’s rest can help one’s brain be more focused on positive habits and more alert to fight temptations. Not only eating but also eating well can improve mood and feelings of well-being. Regular exercise keeps the mind more focused, the body feeling great, and improve sleep.”
“The thing required is not to add to the good actions we have already done, but only to do that out of love to God which men of reputation and virtuous lives due from a principle of honor and regard of themselves. … Let us do all the same honest and virtuous actions, but let us do them for the sake of Him Who made us and to Whom we owe our all.” —Françoise Fenelon
“If, when no one is watching us, we are building ourselves up in the Word of God, then, when a crisis comes, we shall stand; but if we are not building on the Word of God, when a crisis comes we shall go down, no matter what our wills are like.” —Oswald Chambers
“So the issue for us is: Do we eagerly long for the coming of Christ? Or do we want Him to wait while our love affair with the world runs its course?” —John Piper
For all of my pastor friends who have kids, this post from Pastor Dave Barringer is an important read.
Dr. Tim Elmore uses John Wooden as a great example to ask the question: Are You A Coach Or A Teacher?
Have you heard that there are fewer Christians in America? Check out John Stonestreet’s analysis of the latest reports.
[VIDEO] John Maxwell talks about the consistency and perseverance of the professional—
“That is the religion of ninety-nine English people out of every hundred who know nothing of divine grace—we are to be as good as we can; we are to go to church or to chapel, and do all that we can, and then Jesus Christ died for us, and we shall be saved. Whereas the gospel is, that He did not do anything at all for people who think they can rely on themselves, but gave Himself for lost and ruined ones. He did not come into the world to save self-righteous people; on their own showing, they do not want to be saved.” —Charles Spurgeon
Twitter stands up to ISIS. About time!
Interesting research results from The Barna Group in What Millennials Want When They Visit Church.
“The engagement of God’s power never takes the place of the engagement of our will! The power of God in sanctification never makes us passive! The power of God engages itself beneath or behind and within our will, not in place of our will. … God will never appear with power in your will in any other form than a good resolve that you make and keep.” —John Piper
“Jesus is Amen as to His righteousness. That sacred robe shall remain most fair and glorious when nature shall decay. He is Amen in every single title which He bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Head, the neck never being dislocated; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death’s dark vale; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your Strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and Amen in all.” —Charles Spurgeon
Read this in my Archeological Study Bible and thought this rang true for our generation still today: “This generation was not guilty of the gross idolatry of its forefathers. Rather, these Israelites had embraced a kind of dead orthodoxy, in which they tried to get by with the minimum that their faith required.”
I found Beyond IQ by Garth Sundem to be engaging because of both the research he presents, and the engaging exercises he incorporates to make the research applicable to us. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Here are some of the quotes I especially appreciated.
“First, here’s why insight can be difficult: it requires a paradoxical mix of experience with openness. Usually, experience leads to set-in-stone ways of doing things. Typically, openness is only present when you’re forced by inexperience to remain available in your search for solutions. Experience mixed with openness is a rare cocktail. … Rather than opening your mind to insight, [John] Kounios and [Mark] Jung-Beeman show that if you want insight, the best thing you can do is to close it. A closed mind shows up on an fMRI as activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, your brain’s home of inhibiting distraction. It’s as if your ACC is a pair of noise-canceling headphones, and with these headphones in place you’re more able to hear your brain’s quiet, insightful whispers.”
“Science has known that during sleep the brain’s hippocampus—the structure responsible for encoding new memories—replays the day’s experiences from short-term storage and filters them into the neocortex, where experiences are integrated into… ‘pre-existing knowledge representations.’ Insight is the novel connection of knowledge, and sleep knocks knowledge into new configurations.”
“[Robert] Sternberg and his frequent collaborator, Richard Wagner, showed that situational judgment tests…designed to measure practical intelligence are a much better predictor then IQ of job performance in business managers, bank managers, and graduate students. IQ doesn’t lead to success. Practical intelligence does.”
“The language of problem-solving is: initial state, constraints, operations, and goal state. … [Richard] Mayer says that the most striking feature of people who successfully solve real-world problems is the time they spend studying the initial state and the constraints—the extra time they spend clarifying the problem.”
“University of California-San Bernardino researcher James Kaufman knows the recipe for creativity. It’s equal parts intrinsic motivation, experience, and something he calls low personal inhibition. Intrinsic motivation is pretty self-explanatory, but beware of the danger of ‘replacing intrinsic motivation and a natural curiosity with external rewards,’ says Kaufman. If a parent wants a child to become a creative pianist, the parent should encourage interest in the piano but not incentivize this interest with ice cream. Creativity blooms in fields you’re drawn to, not in fields into which you’re pushed. … Kaufman’s research has shown that creative people are hard workers with background knowledge and expertise in their creative domains. ‘It’s the “learn the rules so you can break them” approach,’ he says.”
“Dean Keith Simonton of UC Davis found that the nineteenth-century scientists who wrote the most-cited papers also wrote the least-cited papers. … The more scientific papers or sonatas or sonnets a person writes, the greater chance that one or more will be especially creative.”
“In any kind of cognitive activity you have two kinds of things going on. You have intelligence, but there’s also learning and skill and knowledge based on practice. The more the second develops, the less important the first becomes. … Even more importantly, we’ve shown that with enough practice and hard work, you can actually change the neurophysiology of the brain. For example, practice can encourage the brain to grow greater myelin coating on neurons. Thus our behaviors become literally hard-wired. Developing expertise literally makes certain thought patterns more efficient than others.” —Paul Feltovich
“Florida State researcher K. Anders Ericcson shows that it’s not only experience that creates expertise but a step-by-step method of sculpting experience that he calls deliberate practice. To Ericsson, famous for his theory that 10,000 hours of practice creates expertise in any field, the four-step path to expertise includes performing your skill, monitoring your performance, evaluating your success, and figuring out how to do it better next time. Completing only the first step—performing the skill itself—leads to automated, low-level, rote performance in which you perform the skill the same way every time. Monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting your skill allows you to modify it after every pass, helping skill evolved toward expertise.”
“The more you use your brain, the longer you’ll be able to use it. … People with ‘cognitively protected’ brains were those who challenge themselves through a lifestyle that included reading, writing, attending lectures, and doing word puzzles—in other words, they followed a self-imposed regimen of cognitive involvement. … Cognitive involvement is only one tine of a three-pronged approach to brain health in later life. The second tine is a healthy body. … In fact, your cardiovascular health in middle age is even more important for your later brain health than the same risk factors in old age itself. … The third tine: social interaction. … Nothing forces the brain to work like interacting with other brains.”
“Moral reasoning and wisdom are linked. Specifically (and this is kind of cool albeit technical), for those who possess strong moral reasoning, wisdom increases with age. If you have lower moral reasoning, you gain no wisdom as you get older. So if you want wisdom later, train your moral reasoning now.”
“Wisdom requires thought and action without yourself in mind, and sociologist Monika Ardelt of the University of Florida shows that selflessness is also the best predictor of successful aging. In fact, the wisdom born of selflessness beats out physical health, income, socioeconomic status, physical environment, and even social relationships in predicting life satisfaction in old age.”
“Pressure…sits like a lead weight in your working memory, claiming space that could otherwise hold useful information. And because working memory is a mainline to general intelligence, space claimed by pressure makes you measurably dumber. … Pressure flips a mental switch from implicit to explicit thought, making you apply a layer of analysis to things that should be automatic. … Chronic pressure can make you chronically prioritize the quick rewards of drugs and alcohol while discounting their long-term risk. … So beware. Stress plugs your working memory, analysis paralysis forces you to try to use it anyway, and your dopamine circuits cry for a quick, risky solution.”
“Students with high emotional intelligence (EI) have lower rates of drug use and teachers with high EI get more support from their principals. Employees with high EI have higher job performance, especially when their IQ is low (implying that emotional intelligence can help compensate for low general intelligence—and also that these skills are distinct). EI is even implicated in resilience—the more EI you have, the higher your chances of bouncing back after trauma or negative life events.”
“If IQ is the strength of the bulb in your lighthouse, willpower is the lens that focuses it into a beam.”
Home Run opens in theaters on April 19, 2013, but Betsy and I were privileged to see an advanced screening of this movie.
I’ll be honest with you: Going into the theater I was a bit skeptical. From what I had been told, and the little blurbs I had read and watched, it seemed like it was going to be a bit over-the-top Christianese. I am happy to tell you I was totally wrong!
Home Run follows a baseball player who has been suspended from his team because of his alcohol problem. One of the conditions of his return to the diamond is his attendance at some sort of 12-step program. Cory chose a Celebrate Recovery program.
I loved seeing the stark contrast between the messages of hope Cory was hearing in his Celebrate Recovery meetings, with the lack of success he was having outside of the meetings. Cory attempts to use his own willpower to overcome his addiction, and the emotional scars that led to it, but is unsuccessful at almost every attempt. In his Celebrate Recovery meetings he is hearing how people who surrendered to the love of Jesus (not just “a higher power”) were finding a freedom they had never known before.
I also like how the movie didn’t lead to an all-too-typical Hollywood fairy tale, they-all-lived-happily-ever-after ending. Instead we see Cory on the road to recovery, but with many relationships and situations still to be reconciled.
The movie is rated PG-13 for the subject matter of alcoholism (and the other addictions discussed in the C.R. meetings), and for a rather intense scene with Cory’s drunk, emotionally-abusive father. So I wouldn’t recommend this to families with younger children, but anyone else who is struggling with an addiction, or who knows someone who is, should see Home Run when it opens on April 19.
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
Stop Doing That!
Deliverance from sin is not the same as deliverance from human nature. There are things in human nature, such as prejudices, that the saint can only destroy through sheer neglect. But there are other things that have to be destroyed through violence, that is, through God’s divine strength imparted by His Spirit. …We can either turn back, making ourselves of no value to the kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things, allowing Jesus to bring another son to glory.
From My Utmost For His Highest
I’m usually pretty good at making To-Do lists. But how am I at making Don’t-Do lists?
I need find those things that are holding me back, and deliberately destroy them — totally neglect them, and let them die from starvation. Doing has a certain power in my spiritual growth, but not doing can have an equal power as well.
“The average human being in any line of work could double his productive [or spiritual] capacity overnight if he began right now to do all the things he knows he should do, and to stop doing all the things he knows he should not do.” —Elmer G. Letterman
My job is boring…
My finances are barely making ends meet…
My relationships seem stagnant…
Church just doesn’t thrill me anymore…
My devotions are lackluster…
My prayer life is sporadic…
I just don’t feel like praising God…
What do you do? You certainly can’t listen to your feelings because they will betray you as many times as they help you. My experience has been that you cannot wait until you feel like doing something to start doing something. But if you just do the right thing, then the good feelings will usually follow.
King David was in a similar position—no job, no prospects, no income, strained relationships, no chance to even go to church. Psalm 34 has this introduction, “When he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him out, and he went away.” In other words, David was not having a good day. He certainly wasn’t feelin’ it! How did he get out of this funk?
STEP 1: Use your will to praise God.
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the Lord.
David said, “I’m not really feelin’ it, but I’m gonna praise God anyhow!”
STEP 2: Be prepared for your emotions to engage.
My soul will boast in the LORD.
The soul is the seat of the emotions. It started off as an act of David’s will, but then it got down into his soul and he started feelin’ it.
STEP 3: Become an encouragement to others.
Let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together.
When David used his will to praise God, other helpless, hurting people began to join in. Soon it was a choir of praise!
You may not be feelin’ it, but if you’ll just use your will to praise God, you will begin to feel better, and you’ll help others to feel it as well.
As the Israelites were attempting to settle in the Promised Land, there is a repeated phrase, “They could not drive out the ites.” (The “ites” are people like Canaanites, Hivites, Jebusites, etc.) God told them that they should completely clear the land of the ites, but they didn’t. Instead, they just subjected them to forced labor.
Oops! These small ites eventually became the downfall of Israel. The ites continued to practice their pagan worship observances, and eventually enticed the people of Israel to join them. As a result, Israel was humiliated, defeated, and carried off into captivity.
Can I make a parallel to our lives?
I know the ites are there, but it seems so difficult to remove them: the Bible uses the phrase they were determined to live in that land. So the ites are allowed to coexist, and I determine to use my willpower to make sure they stay contained.
After awhile the ites have behaved themselves. They seem harmless enough. In fact, I’ve gotten so strong, so mature, in my Christian faith, I know I’ll never give in to the pull of the ites again. I can relax a little bit now.
But the ites wait. They bide their time. They find just a crack to slowly worm their way in. Then when I am at a vulnerable time, they strike. The slave becomes the master. The ites retake possession of my life.
Willpower will not work. Only complete elimination will work.
God will help you if you will let Him.
The Bible’s warning is loud and clear:
These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about [willpower]; it’s useless. Cultivate [God-power].
A slight case of the ites is a serious thing! Don’t let it continue!