Media’s message to singles: “You have the individual need and right to have sex whenever you want, with whomever you want. Waiting for marriage is not only a thing of the past, but there’s something not really right with you if you do. Its perfectly ok if you’re not tolerant when it comes to virgins.”
Pharmaceutical companies’ message to marrieds: “Physical relations are all about stellar performance. There are standards to meet and something’s wrong with you if you’re not up to par with this. Our pill is the answer to all your issues.”
Without reminders, it’s easy to be fooled by these messages.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
1. Be a fact checker: Humans are created to love and have connections with one another. But since the days of Genesis, people have tried to go outside the lines when it comes to God’s design for sex. Modern sexual “progressiveness” is not new.
“I, God, love the Israelite people even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.” (Hosea 3:1, Msg)
2. Look at sex deeply: Sex is a big deal. But treating it like recreation can never bring about the lasting rewards of enjoying it according to its design of loving and giving within a specific covenantal relationship.
“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:22, ESV)
3. Get unplugged periodically and regroup with God: No one is exempt from being influenced by strong communications from the world. Ask Him to refill you often with His wisdom about your relationships, and remind you of His love and purpose for you so that you won’t be swayed by deceitful ideas.
“I’ve named you Friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.” (John 15:15, Msg)
“The Good News About Satan” might not sound like poolside Bible reading, but this short book by Bob Bevington can impact your summer* more than any other activity you might plan.
In addition to receiving a thorough Biblical background about the devil, you will learn:
*Just how much of a threat he actually is, given that Jesus has already defeated him.
*How to distinguish between the three unholy forces that can try to bring you down (the devil, the world, and your flesh); and practical ways to combat them with supernatural help.
*What these evil forces can and can’t do to you, and where you’re vulnerable.
*How small sins can start as a “toehold” move to a “foothold” and eventually become a “stranglehold” on your life.
*How the modern celebration of “many things are true” can you lead you to having false beliefs about your own God.
*That Hollywood’s portrayal of the spirit world does not always line up with what the Bible teaches about it.
*That the Bible has the most encouraging news you could ever hear about your struggles.
*How to “resist the devil,” and what you can be and can’t be to make it happen.
*How to be filled with joy through understanding the depth of victory of the glorious Christ.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
- Order this book here.
- If you decide to use the e:book, print out the endnotes on pages 115-119 so that you can easily look up the Bible verses as you come across the references in your screen reading.
- Ask a friend or family member to read the book at the same time as you so that you can discuss it as you go along.
- Be prepared to make your enemy angry as you experience more of God’s power this summer while studying this rich material.
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
*Older teens in the Passionate & Pure program who participate this summer will be introduced to some of this book as curriculum.
Why do kids and teens lie to their parents? Why do some people fib so incessantly that it’s a habitual automatic response?
Some explanations include:
- To avoid getting into trouble, not wanting to make someone mad
- Fearing the potential reaction to the truth, experiencing shame
- Driven by what others will think if the truth is told, wanting to save face
- A desire to be liked, popular, entertaining, or funny
- Deep insecurity
- To boost one’s feeling of worthiness, to fit in
- A problem with self-centeredness, wanting one’s way, not wanting to do what is hard
- A need to control or manipulate a situation
- When it’s become so normal that telling the truth is awkward and uncomfortable, while lying feels right (often developed in childhood when lying felt necessary)
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
Don’t be so shocked when someone gives less than the truth. Remember that the heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and everyone struggles with sin. (Rom. 3:23)
Read Proverbs 30:8a. Start with yourself. How can you grow in your own love for truth, and what lies do you need the Lord to keep away from coming out of your mouth?
Study Ephesians 4:22-25. Perhaps those who lie to you have not yet understood the truth that is in Jesus, and have not yet put on a new self. They may not grasp what it means to be a member of His body, called to speak the truth with one another.
Look at these 4 key verses to understand the spiritual impact. When others decide to bear false witness (lie) (Ex. 20:16) they become like a sharp arrow (Prov. 25:18), and they miss out on the opportunity to bear true witness of Him (give evidence of Him) (Jn. 7:18). Show compassion for those who lie. Turn any judgmental disappointment into tender requests of the Lord to guide you in ways to gently restore them to truth and to empower them to be humble witnesses to the truth, which is for their own good (Jn. 7:18; Gal. 6:1).
If you want to help someone feel safe to tell you the truth, invite him to suggest the ways you can respond that will help him resist the temptation to lie. For example, before he tells the truth, he might ask you not to laugh, get mad, or yell.
If you want to help someone feel confident enough to tell the truth, help her believe that God accepts her just the way she is, and He desires her to be humbly transparent, not perfect. Explain to her that putting on a false mask gives others an opaque view of who she is and puts an unnecessary burden on herself to try to please those who may never accept her.
If you are struggling to trust someone who continually lies to you, remember that there is One who is perfectly trustworthy. He can heal you from the hurts the lies have caused, pour onto you His unending grace, and give you wisdom to know how to foster truthful conversations. The Lord can help you see where He is at work in the lying person’s life, show you how to pray for the relationship, enable you to trust again, and make you more like Christ in the process.
The invitations are everywhere. For men and for women. For teens. For children as young as 8 or 9. One glance at a sidebar photo, one click on a “harmless” site, one ten-second photo, one media rental, one novel series, and before you know it, one turns to two. It seems so common – and it is. It can seem so good – but it’s not. Pornography is more dangerous than ever due to a greater acceptance than ever. Therefore, it’s crucial to refresh your memory about the in’s and out’s of this industry so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Pornography, to any degree, for any purpose, and in any context, violates God’s beautiful design for sexuality and His commands for how it must be honored. His standards don’t adjust for our humanity; our standards need to adjust to His divinity. (Job 40:8; Ps. 19:7-11; Is. 48:17-18)
- Porn requires you to change your values so that you will feel permission to rewrite God’s other standards as well. With eroded values, you don’t have to consider how you view or treat others, and you will eventually lose your desire to hear anything God has to say to you in His Word. (Is. 66:4; 1 Cor. 2:14)
- Pornography needs you to lust so that you won’t love. It will even try to convince married couples that it can be beneficial for love; but it will only be toxic and lead to lust and harm. (Prov. 6:25; Mt. 5:28; Col. 3:5)
- Pornography makes you believe it will improve your life and meet your needs, but its deceptive goal is to make sure you never feel satisfied so that you keep going back for more. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can “use porn in moderation.” (Ps. 107:9)
- Pornography deprioritizes your relationships. You can’t have both fantasy and a real person. If you choose fantasy, your self-gratification will cause you to struggle in the real world. If you choose a real person, you have no need to maintain a fantasy life. You will function at a higher level relationally and get to experience the unique sexual experience God has planned for you in the context of intimate marriage. (1 Cor. 13; Heb. 13:4)
- Pornography opens a broad door for evil. Stop and think about those behind and in front of the cameras – their ages, how they got there, how they are treated, and the condition of their souls. And don’t forget about porn in books and artwork, too. Something is going on in the hearts and lives of those authors and artists, too.
- Porn dumbs down your mind. It requires that your mind give more and more attention to it and that your brain store more and more of its visuals, leaving less time and space for higher thoughts. (Phil. 4:8)
- Porn turns you into an addict. Then it wants you to keep it a secret to keep you from getting any help before it destroys you. And considering the prevalence of porn today, there’s a good chance that you know someone who is keeping their addiction a secret – for now. Eventually they will become so desensitized and so desperate that their behavior will move from hidden internal behavior to overt external behavior.
- Christians involved in pornography are like inmates who don’t realize their cell is open. You are empowered for something far greater than sexual pleasure; you are primed for holiness. (Col. 3)
- Pornography is a worldly enemy that is planning to stalk you. It’s waiting to take your human sexual curiosity and desire, and exchange it for deep and painful shame. But as a Christian, you can grip the Living Spirit of Pure Jesus to continually guide you to express a self-controlled, healthy, holy, fulfilling sexuality – beginning at puberty (loving your future spouse well with your early choices) and lasting for life (enjoying a faithful, sexual relationship with your spouse and a holy relationship with your Savior).
Keeping Room Tips:
Just as airlines have a procedure if there is loss of oxygen in the cabin, Christians today need a procedure for dealing with the world’s pervasive pornography. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first (immediately devise a plan to keep you from the wiles of porn). Then, put the oxygen mask on your loved ones (provide conversation, support, and accountability for others). Or allow someone to put an oxygen mask on you (get help if you are already struggling with pornography). Ultimately, everyone on the plane needs oxygen (no one is immune to sexual temptation).
It’s a good idea to think deeply about the meaning of “lead us not into temptation.” (Mt. 6:13). One thing this line seems to be telling you is that temptation is something you do not want to be going in the direction of…and you need God, your Leader, to lead you in the opposite direction of it. In fact, the human track record shows that without significant help you will inevitably go towards temptation. So, it seems that the obvious solution would be to specifically pray each morning that the Lord will lead you not into temptation and into the other direction. Yet, you know you need a more comprehensive plan of dealing with temptation than a brief prayer.
Keeping Room Tips:
In addition to praying, you need to watch. Don’t make Peter’s mistake. He boasted that he would never deny Jesus – just before he denied him 3 times. In this day of mass marketing, you are constantly being told to consume, indulge, and do what you think you deserve. Watch for temptation on every corner, and don’t assume you’re immune to it. (Mk. 14:38; Mt. 26:35)
Spend more time reading the Bible and you will have living and active Words at your disposal to say out loud and/or to yourself to help you defeat temptation. (Mt. 4:7, 10; Heb. 4:12)
He promises never to leave you, but it’s up to you to either blow off His presence or reach out for His aid. (Heb. 13:5)
Dig underneath the temptation. Why is it tempting? What do you believe it will do for you? Are you believing lies about the benefits of what is so tempting? You may need to ask the Lord to “keep lies far from you.” (Prov. 30:8)
Examine your thoughts. How zoned in are your thoughts on the temptation? Or, are your thoughts centered on what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy?” (Phil. 4:8)
As you invite the Lord to lead you in the opposite direction of temptation, don’t bring temptation with you. “If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.” Jesus’ command is hard-core, but He would know what it takes. He was tempted just like you. (Mt. 5:30, Heb. 4:15)
Walk in your authority as a Christ-follower even if you feel out of control. Temptation has no authority, but you do. (Mt. 28:18-20; Lk. 9:1; Titus 2:15).
Limit the time you spend with those who influence you to give into temptation. “You must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” Yes, Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors, but He could do so without being influenced. If you can’t, then let someone else eat with them and you let God lead you not into temptation. (1 Cor. 5:9-11; Prov. 13:20)
Thank Him in advance for having completely available all the strength that you need. Trying to do things in your own willpower diminishes the power of the Holy Spirit at work for you because it’s like you’re telling the resurrected God, “I don’t need your power; I’ve got this.” (Eph. 1:19; Phil 4:19).
Discover what you really love…because what you love most is what you will follow most. The more you get to know God, the more you will love and respect Him, and the more you will despise sin as much as He does. Cravings for His Son’s righteousness will replace your cravings for what tempts you. (Ps. 45:7; Mt. 5:6)
After times of great temptation, expect the Lord and His Angel Army to minister to you just like angels did for Jesus after the devil tempted him. This will build your faith and make you stronger for the next round. (Mt. 4:11)
Originally, the words “Famous” and “Infamous” had opposite meanings, and one was considered far more favorable (famous) than the other (infamous). However, nowadays, developing an infamous reputation is not as readily avoided as in days gone by because being infamous often leads to as many benefits as becoming famous or having a good reputation. For example, engaging in rash, foolish, shocking, or attention-seeking behaviors (especially on-line) can provide quicker fame than gradually developing the virtues of integrity, service, modesty, honesty, sacrifice, discipline, hard work, self-control, and purity.
If the motto of the culture is: “I’d rather be infamous than to miss out on any fame at all,” how can present-day Christians bypass the allure of being infamous, skip the quest to achieve fame, and be content with “merely” earning a good reputation?
Keeping Room Tips:
- Remember how Fame works on earth. It is relatively short-term. Few people are remembered after several generations. Do you know much about your great-great grandparents? Probably not. Likewise, in a few generations, you may not be well-known on earth, for good or for bad.
- Remember how Fame works in heaven. It is permanently long-term. Abraham (Genesis 11-25), Ruth (Ruth 1-4), Hannah (1 Sam. 1-2), The Virgin Mary (Lk. 1-2), etc. lived significant lives, but they weren’t especially famous or infamous as compared to today’s standards. They delayed fame on earth, but now they are famous on earth and in heaven. Surely they now believe it was worth sacrificing short-term earthly fame for eternal significance in the Lord’s Kingdom.
Stay focused on the difference between earthly and heavenly fame so you won’t be like those who get a crown that will not last. Run for the crown that will last forever (1 Cor. 9:12).