10 Ways To Put Some SPARK Back In Your Marriage

Posted by    |    August 16th, 2017 at 7:21 am

We laughed recently when we heard a woman say, “If my husband ever says there is no spark in our relationship, I’m going to taz him. Then when he wakes up, I’ll ask him if he still feels that way.” That’s not the way to bring a spark back into your relationship, but here are 10 good ways (and much less painful 😜)…

1. TELL YOUR SPOUSE YOU APPRECIATE THEM: Refocus on what your spouse does well. Early in the relationship we tend to notice all our spouse’s great qualities, while overlooking their flaws. As marriage goes on, we tend to become guilty of noticing all of their flaws while overlooking their great qualities. Say “thank you” for the little things.

2. DO THE THINGS YOU ONCE DID: Visit back before you were married, when you were in the process of trying to win your spouse, you did things like … flirt, brag on one another, call for no reason, send flowers, leave notes for one another, etc. Go back to doing the things you did pre-marriage to win one another. Work as hard to keep your spouse as you did to win them in the beginning.

3. WATCH AN OLD MOVIE THAT YOU BOTH LOVE: After the kids are in bed, pick out a romantic comedy or action movie and snuggle up on the couch.

4. WATCH YOUR OLD WEDDING VIDEO: Pull out that old wedding video and watch it together. It will bring back some great memories and laughs.

5. DO SOMETHING FUN TOGETHER: Most of the time when marriages struggle, it’s not due to a lack of love, but a lack of friendship. You build friendship by spending time together and doing things together. Pick out some things you like to do together, and get after it.

6. GO ON A FANCY DATE: We love to date, and occasionally we love to go on a fancy date. So dress up, wear something your spouse likes, eat somewhere nice and go see a special play, etc. Don’t forget to bring the “romance” back home with you.

7. PLAN A WEEKEND ADVENTURE: If you can get the kids lined out, plan a weekend for just the two of you. This is so healthy for your relationship.

8. SEND A SPECIAL MESSAGE: Send a love letter to your spouse via snail mail or a sexy text message. Your spouse will love it.

9. HAVE MORE SEX: Be spontaneous: have it during the day or in a different place. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Intimacy is what separates soulmates from roommates.

10. BE INTERESTED: Show interest in your spouse’s day. Greet them with a hug and kiss and ask them about their day … and then listen closely with your eyes and your ears.

Daily Briefing: August 16, 2017

Posted by    |    August 16th, 2017 at 6:13 am

T O P   N E W S

9. EXCLUSIVE: Hope Hicks To Be Named White House Comms Director (The Daily Caller)

“President Trump has offered the job to Hicks and she has accepted the position, according to a White House insider. Hicks has been close by Trump’s side since the early days of the campaign and is one of his most trusted staffers. She has been serving on the press team in more of a behind-the-scenes role as the director of strategic communications.”

Nick Note: “…Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6, 18:1, 21:25)” This verse describes the time of the Judges and some contend this characterizes our culture today. Last night, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest group of labor unions in the country, quit President Trump’s manufacturing council after the president’s remarks earlier in the day.Watch some of Mr. Trump’s remarks here. At the impromptu press conference at Trump Tower, President Trump returned to his original comments regarding the tragedy at Charlottesville that blamed all sides. This did not void out his comments from two days ago, which specifically condemned and called out the “KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups,” butmany interpreted this as a step back. However, approximately six out of ten Americans will not change their mind regarding President Trump, according to the latest Monmouth poll. The tragedy in Charlottesville continues to dominate the news, especially because of a 22-minute documentary put out last night by Vice News that portrayed what happened over the weekend. I will not link to the video because of how disgusting and heartbreaking it is. But here is a short backgrounder on many of the groups involved. Nine cities across the country are bracing for similar rallies in the coming days. Undoubtedly, these rallies will unite both protestors and counter-protestors, in essence pitting them against each other. We are deeply divided and we desperately need to be united. Today, everyone may do what is right in their eyes but we need Coach Bombays to lift our gazes to work for the collective good. Ducks fly together and Christians from all backgrounds work together in order to bless the world, work for the good of their community, and love their neighbor as yourself (John 17:21, 2 Corinthians 9:8-11, Jeremiah 29:7, Mark 12:30-31). 

8. Sierra Leone: 400 bodies found after ‘huge’ mudslides (Skye News)

“Nearly 400 bodies have been found so far after “huge” mudslides hit the capital of Sierra Leone – and more heavy rain is feared to be on the way. Relatives have been gathering at a morgue overloaded with bodies in Freetown and national TV showed images of people bringing bodies to the morgue in rice sacks. The chief coroner, Seneh Dumbuya, said he expected the death toll would rise to more than 500.”

Nick Note: Also making news on the international front, at least 30 people were killed and more than 80 others injured in a triple suicide attack Tuesday in Nigeria. No group has claimed responsibility but this area is known for Boko Haram attacks. Stories like this awaken me to my helplessness. But according to Paul Miller in his phenomenal book A Praying Life, prayer is bringing your helplessness to Jesus. “Prayer is asking God to incarnate, to get dirty in your life…Most of our prayers are answered in the context of the larger story that God is weaving.” Would you pray for people of Sierra Leone and Nigeria this morning? (1 Thessalonians 5:25)

7. Gates Makes Largest Donation Since 2000 With $5 Billion Gift (Bloomberg)

“Bill Gates made his largest single gift since the turn of the century, giving away Microsoft Corp. shares that accounted for 5 percent of his fortune, the world’s biggest. The billionaire donated 64 million of the software maker’s shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The shares were valued at $4.6 billion at the time. It’s the largest gift of Microsoft shares that Gates, 61, has made since 2000.”

Nick Note: “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35)”

C U L T U R A L   N E W S

6. MoviePass’ New Unlimited Movies in Theaters Deal Sounds Amazing—But There’s a Catch (Gizmodo)

“Lowe announced that MoviePass will allow subscribers to see one showing a day of a film at any theater that accepts debit card payment for just $9.95 a month. The only restrictions that have been announced so far are that 3D and Imax films are off limits.
“The new plan is the same as many startups these days. Lose a bunch of money, gain a bunch of customers, and sell that sweet, sweet data. MoviePass sold a majority stake in the company to Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. on Tuesday and now it has some cash to burn., so the company will almost certainly lose money on subscriptions.”

Nick Note: An average movie ticket costs $8.84. This should indicate how valuable your data is to companies. MoviePass is willing to take a short-term loss for a long-term gain all for the sake of your valuable data. To a divine degree, Jesus was willing to take a short-term loss (three days in a tomb) for a long-term gain (eternity) all for the sake of his glory, your joy, and the world’s good (Colossians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24).

5. Inside the Lab That’s Quantifying Happiness

“The UVM team’s Hedonometer surveys the country’s tweets each day and calculates a happiness score for each. The team had people rate 10,000 words on a happiness scale of one (sad) to nine (happy).
“All this adds up to a mesmerizing sine wave tracking the nation’s mood from 2009 (the fledging of Twitter) to the present. “One of our goals was to provide a snapshot of the public’s response to something,” Danforth explained, “the texture of the day.”

Nick Note: Out of the overflow of the heart the fingers tweet. (Luke 6:45)

4. These statistics show why it’s so hard to be an average man on dating apps (QZ)

“Aviv Goldgeier recently analyzed the share of “likes” on Hinge that went to the most-liked people of each gender. He found that inequality on dating apps is stark, and that it was significantly worse for men. The top 1% of guys get more than 16% of all likes on the app, compared to just over 11% for the top 1% of women. (Unlike swipe-based Tinder, Hinge is based on a system of “liking” some particular aspect of a person’s profile.)
“The most likely explanation is that women, who are generally less likely to initiate contact, have a higher threshold when they do so. For many women, though certainly not all, if they are going to break with gender norms, it is only going to be for a really attractive guy.”

Nick Note: John Cusack held up a boom box and blared “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel outside Ione Skye’s window and that was sufficient to woo her. Today requires different tactics. In 2014, single adults numbered 107 million and comprised 45 percent of the population. That number is only growing. 40 percent use online dating or an app, 52 percent are men, and 53 percent lied on their profile. In the Scriptures, we read about Jacob working for 14 years for Rachel (Genesis 29). We read about David going to great lengths for the hand of Michal (1 Samuel 18). Each instance, to a certain degree, revealed respect and hard work compelled by love. While the outworking of these values will look different today, the principles should remain. 

3. Before You Study, Ask for Help (WSJ)

“New research shows that students who excel at both classroom and standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT aren’t necessarily those who study longest. Instead, they study smart—planning ahead, quizzing themselves on the material and actively seeking out help when they don’t understand it.
“High-achieving students take charge of their own learning and ask for help when they’re stuck, according to a 2017 study of 414 college students. Students who performed better sought out extra study aids such as instructional videos on YouTube. Those who asked instructors for help during office hours were more likely to get A’s, but fewer than 1 in 5 students did so, says the study.”

Nick Note: The Beatles got by with a Little Help from Their Friends and so should you. Perhaps the most helpful book for me was How to Read a Bookby Mortimer Adler. In the Scriptures, a wise man seeks counsel, finds wisdom in counsel, and achieves victory in the abundance of counselors (Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 13:10, 19:20). The Four Tops can’t help themselves but you can by asking for help from others. So in the name of your Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, ask for help. 

N E W S   Y O U   C A N   U S E

2. Dad of woman killed in Charlottesville: “People need to stop hating. And they need to forgive each other.” (h/t: Nate S)

Nick Note: Watch it here. Absolutely stunning. (Hebrews 11:37-38

1. Studious pup just can’t wait to board the bus to doggy school

Nick Note: Watch it here. Just as this dog seizes the day, go and do likewise. However, please refrain from lapping water out of a bowl. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10)

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Why ‘Game of Thrones’ is popular—and dangerous

Posted by    |    August 16th, 2017 at 5:46 am

NOTE: In response to the continuing controversy over neo-Nazis and white supremacists, I have written an article for our website titled Hitler’s Lies: Responding to Nazism Today. The article explores Hitler’s ideology, the continuing popularity of Nazism, and three biblical responses. I invite you to read it here.

The recent premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones drew a record-setting 10.1 million viewers. Coupled with digital viewers, the show averaged 25.1 million viewers last year. It was by far the most watched show on television, nearly double the viewers of the second-place show.

Why is Game of Thrones so astoundingly popular? What does its popularity say about us?

I must begin with a disclaimer: I have never seen Game of Thrones, for reasons I’ll explain in today’s article. But Internet reviews are so abundant that it’s not hard to identify reasons for the show’s enormous popularity. Each of them says something frightening about our culture today.

One: The plots are unpredictably complex. As Forbes notes, “Central characters are killed, psychopaths claim power, weddings become bloodbaths, and bad guys develop consciences as time passes.” The show is built on the premise that there is no logic to life, that we live in a chaotic world with no central purpose or direction.

Two: The show embraces amorality. “Good” characters make horrific mistakes, while “bad” characters act redemptively. One psychologist lauds the “progressive tolerance” the show legitimizes. In a postmodern culture that views all truth as personal and subjective, the characters legitimize our rejection of right and wrong.

Three: All sexuality is endorsed. Rape, lesbianism, sex between siblings, prostitution, and other acts so despicable I won’t mention them here—all are regular fare. As millions of people watch such perversion, they are desensitized and far more likely to embrace the “sexual liberation” the show articulates.

Four: Violence is normalized. Heads are crushed, people are stabbed through the eye, victims are burned alive, mass murder is depicted graphically. Why is this a problem? Exposure to media violence is clearly linked to violent acts as watching violence changes brain patterns and alters behavior.

What would God say to Christians tempted to watch such ungodliness?

One: Guard your heart. Scripture teaches us to “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). We are commanded to “think on” whatever is “pure” (Philippians 4:8). Our thoughts determine our actions, which determine our lives (Proverbs 23:7 KJV).

Two: Guard your witness. Our skeptical culture looks for reasons to reject our faith. If we are ungodly, how can we call others to be godly? “A truthful witness saves lives” (Proverbs 14:25).

Three: Guard your relationship with God. Would you want your parents to watch you as you watch the nudity and violence depicted on Game of Thrones? Your heavenly Father sees all that you see. His Spirit lives in you and is subjected to whatever your experience. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30).

Jesus taught us, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Thus, we can see Game of Thrones, or we can see God, but we cannot see both.

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