Book Reviews From 2017

9 Quotes From “Take Your Life Back”

take-your-life-backStephen Arterburn and David Stoop have given us a great resource if we are struggling to free ourselves from the wounds that are trapping us in a reactive life. I truly believe Take Your Life Back will start many people on a journey of healing. Check out my full book review by clicking here, and then check out a few quotes from this helpful book.

“When we’re constantly looking at what’s happening with other people and measuring our satisfaction based on how fairly we feel we’ve been treated, we are forever at the mercy of what is going on over there. We’ve wired ourselves to react to whatever scale of comparison we’ve established.”

“The real self, quite simply, is the self that God sees. He sees it all, with all its flaws. He does not approve of or endorse everything He sees, but He loves the person He sees. He does not see an idealized self, free of sin. He sees the real self—sinful, doubtful, and flawed—and yet He accepts the reality of it and loves us in spite of it all.”

“Our reactions to pain and our adaptations to it are unique to ourselves; we are not all the same. But we have several things in common: In one way or another, we have turned our back on reality, and we have allowed all, or portions, of our lives to be controlled by another person, a destructive pattern, or unrealistic expectations. We live on the edge of almost. We are almost breaking free, or we are almost free. We are almost fed up or almost ready to take our lives back.” 

“Denial keeps us from addressing the things we can change, causing us to think that our inability to change everything means we can’t change anything. … Because we either don’t or won’t see how far we are from living the life that God intends for us, we stay in our denial and wait for the magic cure that never materializes. But when we admit that we’re in denial, and when we are willing to break through it, we can begin to move into recovery.”

“When we talk about the elephant in the room, we have a way of describing it as a small rodent. Our internal application for minimizing language automatically converts words like pain into irritation; devastating into difficult; abusive into insensitive; and horrific into unpleasant. Our self-talk is unrealistic, so whenever we communicate with someone else, we present our overwhelming problems as manageable situations that we have completely under control. Because we don’t acknowledge the full scope and intensity of our struggles, we don’t act in realistic ways to free ourselves and take our lives back. We minimize in order to give ourselves permission to do little or nothing to change.”

“Toxic shame undermines our will and our power to stand up for ourselves. … Toxic shame carves out a new normal for those who partake of its poisonous fruit. Rather than seeing themselves as human beings who have made a few mistakes—maybe even some really big mistakes—people who are saturated with toxic shame see their failures as an objective expression of who they are. Before long, they don’t even try to avoid future mistakes. They don’t learn from their errors because they don’t think they can, or need to, learn anything. Repeated mistakes are simply a self-fulfilling prophecy that their shame as written for them. …

“Toxic shame…blinds us to wisdom and insight. It prevents us from cleaning up after ourselves. We start to live in the debris of past mistakes, and that leads us to more debris-producing decisions. We fill our lives with problem after problem because we don’t think we can do any better.”

“There is such a thing as good shame. A better term for it might be godly sorrow. …

“Godly sorrow is a warning sign that we are on the wrong path and need to make some adjustments. Any mistakes we make are not seen as the inevitable result of who we are but as stark reminders that—because of who we are, created in the image of God—we can do better. We are genuinely sorry that we fell short, hurt ourselves or other people, or simply created a lot of hassle that has kept us from living in the good things that God has for us. However, our defective behavior is rightly seen as separate from our identity. Making a mistake doesn’t mean that we are a mistake; it’s simply evidence that we are like every other human being—completely capable of many things, including mistakes. …

“Godly sorrow is a prompt from God, and from a well-developed conscience, that we need something more to achieve all that we want to accomplish. We respond to healthy shame with the desire to get better or do better….”

“Tough love says that I will choose to not give you what you want if it prevents you from attaining what you need.”

“Taking your life back is not just about deciding to defend yourself. It is about finding and removing roadblocks, sinkholes, and dead ends that have disconnected you from other people and stopped your journey from going forward together.”

10 Quotes From “Every Man’s Battle”

Every Man's BattleGuys, you need to read Every Man’s Battle (check out my book review to find out why I say this). Fellas, we can be the men that God desires us to be! Check out some quotes from this powerful book.

“Your purity must not depend upon your mate’s health or desire. God holds you responsible.”

“Why do we find it so easy to mix our standards of sexual sin and so difficult to firmly commit to true purity? Because were used to it. We easily tolerate mixed standards of sexual purity because we tolerate mixed standards in most other areas of life.”

“While in business it’s profitable to seem perfect, in the spiritual realm it’s merely comfortable to seem perfect. It is never profitable. … Excellence is a mixed standard, while obedience is a fixed standard. We want to shoot for the fixed standard.”

“I was asking myself, ‘How far can I go and still be called a Christian?’ The question I should have been asking was, ‘How holy can I be?’”

“We have countless churches filled with countless men encumbered by sexual sin, weakened by low-grade sexual favors—men happy enough to go to Promise Keepers but too sickly to be promise keepers. A spiritual battle for purity is going on in every heart and soul. The costs are real. Obedience is hard, requiring humility and meekness, very rare elements indeed. … If we don’t kill every hint of immorality, we’ll be captured by our tendency as males to draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes. … As we ask ‘How holy can I be?’ We must pray and commit to a new relationship with God, fully aligned with His call to obedience.”

“Your body isn’t reliable for any spiritual battle, much less the battle for sexual purity and obedience. … Your body often breaks ranks, engaging in battle against you. This traitorous tendency pushes our sexual drive to ignore God’s standards. When this sexual drive combines with our natural male arrogance and our natural male desire to drift from the straight life, we’re primed and fueled for sexual captivity.”

“For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay…because foreplay is any sexual action that naturally takes us down the road to intercourse. Foreplay ignites passions, rocketing us by stages until we go all the way. God views foreplay outside marriage as wrong. … It’s critical to recognize visual sexual impurity as foreplay.” 

“If we get into sexual sin naturally—just by being male—then how do we get out? We can’t eliminate our maleness, and we’re sure we don’t want to. For instance, we want to look at our wives and desire them. They’re beautiful to us, and we’re sexually gratified when we gaze at them, often daydreaming about the night ahead and what bedtime will bring. In its proper place, maleness is wonderful. Yet our maleness is a major root of sexual sin. So what do we do? We must choose to be more than male. We must choose manhood. … Our Heavenly Father also exhorts us to be men. He wants us to be like Him. When He calls us to ‘be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,’ He’s asking us to rise above our natural tendencies to impure eyes, fanciful minds, and wandering hearts. His standard of purity doesn’t come naturally to us. He calls us to rise up, by the power of His indwelling presence, and get the job done.”

“The hands of Jesus…never touched a woman with dishonor. … Jesus not only never touched a woman with dishonor, He never even looked at a woman in dishonor. Could I say that? … ‘Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself,’ one might say. ‘It’s natural for a male to look. That’s part of our nature.’ But what you’re doing is stealing. The impure thought life is the life of a thief. You’re stealing images that aren’t yours. … When we’re thieves with our eyes, we’re embezzling sexual gratification from areas that don’t belong to us, from women who aren’t connected to us.”

“When God looks around, He’s not looking for a man’s man but for ‘God’s man.’ His definition of a man—someone who hears His word and acts upon it—is tough, but at least it’s clear.”

Watch for more quotes soon…

Every Man’s Battle (book review)

Every Man's BattleMen are wired differently from women (surprise!). While not all men struggle with pornography, the way men are wired makes it easier to allow lust to begin through what we see with our eyes. This is every man’s battle, and this is the reason Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker have given men an essential book called Every Man’s Battle.

If you’re a guy and you say, “I never battle with lust. I can control myself,” I’d like to remind you of one piece of Scripture: If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. In other words, a little humility and a little help is never a bad thing. In fact, it may just help you keep your guard up.

If you’re a guy and you say, “If the truth were known, I do battle lust quite often,” perhaps your battle with lust has even gotten the best of you, and you’ve begun sneaking a peak at things your shouldn’t be looking at. Maybe those quick peaks have even become longer looks … or even turned into a pornography problem.

In whatever category you find yourself, Every Man’s Battle is an invaluable book for men. The authors are very honest about their own struggles with lust and pornography, including the things they tried to help them kick their habit that ultimately failed. What’s presented to us in this book are successful strategies for defeating lust and eliminating pornography from our lives.

I found the strategies they shared to be practical. They weren’t just some “pray a lot and trust God” approaches, but truly things that any guy can put into practice. That’s not to say that they will be easy to do. After all, rewiring the way you’ve been used to doing things is a lot of hard work. But Stephen and Fred give you a biblical foundation, their own lives as examples, and simple next-steps that any guy can do!

There’s a workbook included, which I would recommend for guys to do with an accountability partner. I would also recommend the website We Dared (where you will meet author Stephen Arterburn) to get some daily help in your battle against lust.

GUYS: GET THIS BOOK! Your family, your church, and your community need you to be strong and victorious over lust and pornography.

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