Favorite 2016 Posts

Book Reviews From 2014

6 Quotes From “Lincoln’s Battle With God”

Lincoln's Battle With GodStephen Mansfield has given us a unique view of the life of Abraham Lincoln, through his struggle with coming to grips with who God was to him. It’s truly an amazing read! You can read my full book review of Lincoln’s Battle With God by clicking here. Below are a few quotes I highlighted in this book.

“A schoolteacher who knew him during these years recalled, ‘Abraham Lincoln was the most studious, diligent strait forward young man in the pursuit of a knowledge of literature than any among the five thousand I have taught in the school.’” —Stephen Mansfield 

“Through all, I groped my way until I found a stronger and higher grasp of thought, one that reached beyond this life with a clearness and satisfaction I had never known before. The Scriptures unfolded before me with a deeper and more logical appeal, through these new experiences, than anything else I could find to turn to, or ever before had found in them.” —Abraham Lincoln

“The fundamental truths reported in the four gospels as from the lips of Jesus Christ, and that I first heard from the lips of my mother, are settled and fixed moral precepts with me. I have concluded to dismiss from my mind the debatable wrangles that once perplexed me with distractions that stirred up, but never absolutely settled anything. I have tossed them aside with the doubtful differences which divide denominations—sweeping them all out of my mind among the nonessentials. I have ceased to follow such discussions or be interested in them. I cannot without mental reservations assent to long and complicated creeds and catechisms. If the church would ask simply for assent to the Savior’s statements of the substance of the law: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,’ that church would I gladly unite with.” —Abraham Lincoln

“The fact is, I don’t like to hear cut and dried sermons. No, when I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees!” —Abraham Lincoln

“On Thursday of last week two ladies from Tennessee came before the President asking the release of their husbands held as prisoners of war at Johnson’s Island. … At each of the interviews one of the ladies urged that her husband was a religious man. On Saturday the President ordered the release of the prisoners, and then said to this lady, ‘You say your husband is a religious man; tell him when you meet him, that I say I am not much of a judge of religion, but that, in my opinion, the religion that sets men to rebel and fight against their government, because, as they think, that government does not sufficiently help some men to eat their bread on the sweat of other men’s faces, is not the sort of religion upon which people can get to heaven!’”  —From a newspaper article entitled “The President’s Last, Shortest and Best Speech”

“If I were not sustained by the prayers of God’s people, I could not endure this constant pressure. … It has pleased Almighty God to place me in my present position and looking up to Him for wisdom and divine guidance I must work my destiny as best I can.” —Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s Battle With God (book review)

Lincoln's Battle With GodI’m a big fan of the historical and biographical work of Stephen Mansfield. His books are thoroughly researched but they don’t read like scholarly works, but have a more storytelling feel to them. This is especially true in his book Lincoln’s Battle With God.

I have read several biographies about our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, but this is one of the most innovative angles of this great leader’s life. Mansfield tells the story of Lincoln as a boy growing up in an overly-strict, hyper-Calvinistic home where religious observance was demanded and oppressive. Lincoln’s father was distant and didn’t have satisfactory answers for his young son when life was painful.

This contributed to Lincoln as a young man who, while searching for answers, went the opposite direction of his father’s faith, and became immersed in rationalism and even agnosticism. Through it all as Lincoln searched for answers, he and his friends had to cope with Lincoln’s “hypo” (his word for deep, almost debilitating, depression).

When rationalism didn’t help him discover the answers he so desperately desired, Lincoln came full circle to begin to explore the tenants of Scripture once again. But this time he looked at the Bible through a different paradigm, being much more thoughtful and circumspect.

His journey to the White House where he had to deal with a nation torn apart by Civil War and the premature death of his young sons exposed him once again to events which would have caused the younger Lincoln to spiral into depression. But his faith in God now had grown rock solid and sustaining.

This book is a fascinating journey through Lincoln’s spiritual struggles, and it’s one that I think many will benefit from reading. Those who are admirers of Abraham Lincoln, those battling depression, and even those searching for life’s answers will find a lot to learn in these pages.

15 Quotes From “Mansfield’s Book Of Manly Men”

Mansfield's Book Of Manly MenFrankly, fellas, there are just way too many passages I highlighted to share them all here, but I did want to give you a taste of some of the manly wisdom in Mansfield’s Book Of Manly Men. You can read my full book review by clicking here, but I suggest every red-blooded male who wants to be a manly man go get this book! You’ll be reading a lot more from me in the next few weeks that is inspired from this book.

“What makes a man a warrior is his willingness to place himself between what he holds dear and anything that threatens it. Honor is the chief motivator for the warrior. Dishonor is unthinkable. He does the right thing without expectation of reward because honor is an intrinsic value that, when manifested in one’s life, provides its own rewards.” —William Boykin

“By words like manly and manhood, I don’t mean the kind of behavior we see in the fake masculinity that surrounds us today. There’s nothing manly about a guy downing booze until he throws up in the street. There’s nothing manly about cruising for women like some predatory beast and then devouring them for pleasure before casting them aside. There’s nothing manly about making a child but then running like a coward before that child is born. There’s nothing manly about dominating a woman or treating her like a servant or leaving her with burdens that aren’t rightly hers. To think these actions make up true manhood is like thinking the average ‘gentleman’s club’ is actually for gentlemen. It’s not. Instead, it is a Palace of Perpetual Adolescence where incomplete males go to get on the cheap what they don’t have the guts to fight for righteously and make their own. … I am talking about the kind of manhood that makes a family whole, a woman safe, a child confident, and a community strong.” —Stephen Mansfield

“All it takes for a contagious manly culture to form is for one genuine man to live out genuine manhood. It creates a model, something for other men to feed upon and pattern themselves after. It also gives other genuine men a vital connection that sustains and extends who they are.” —Stephen Mansfield

“A man cannot fulfill his purpose if he is living for applause, approval, and affirmation in this world.” —Stephen Mansfield

“If a man does not have an ideal and try to live up to it, then he becomes a mean, base and sordid creature, no matter how successful.” —Theodore Roosevelt, in a letter to his son Kermit 

“Honorable men refuse to wallow in the small and the bitter. Honorable men refused to hate life because something once went wrong. Honorable men don’t build monuments to their disappointments, nor do they let others brand into them and curse them to their destruction. Honorable men seek out the highest definition of their lives, the nobler meaning granted by heritage, by their ancestors’ dreams and their parents’ hopes. Honorable man cry out to God until curses are broken and a grander purpose is achieved. Honorable man don’t settle for lives of regret.” —Stephen Mansfield

“Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so. For glory gives herself only to those who have always dreamed of her.” —Charles de Gaulle

“True friends stand in harm’s way for each other. True friends take the hits for one another. … Genuine men stand with their friends and look on the scars that result has signs of manly honor.” —Stephen Mansfield

“Weak men assume what they need to know will seek them out. Men of great character and drive search out the knowledge they need.” —Stephen Mansfield

“For a man to become a great man, he will have to defeat the force of bitterness in his life. No one escapes it. There is enough offense and hardship in the world to assure that all of us will be wounded and betrayed, all of us will have opportunity to drink the sweet-tasting poison of bitterness against those who have wronged us. The art of surviving untainted is to learn the art of forgiveness.” —Stephen Mansfield

“The question we all face is not whether or not we have defects. We do. Everyone of us. The question is whether we are capable of envisioning a life defined by forces greater than the weight of our flaws. The moment we can—the moment we can envision a life beyond mere compromise with our deformities—that is the moment we take the first steps toward weighty lives. Manly men know themselves, work to understand their God-ordained uniqueness and their unique brand of damage, and accept they will always be a work in progress, always be a one-man construction project that is never quite finished in this life. They don’t despair. They don’t settle. They don’t expect perfection of themselves. They understand that destiny is in the hand of God. They also understand that these destinies are fashioned in a man’s struggle against the enemies of his soul.” —Stephen Mansfield

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

“Virtue is a state of war, and to live in it we have always to combat with ourselves.” —Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Adversity toughens manhood, and the characteristic of the good or the great man is not that he has been exempt from the evils of life, but that he has surmounted them.” —Patrick Henry

“The man, whom I called deserving the name, is one whose thoughts and exertions are for others rather than himself.” —Walter Scott

Mansfield’s Book Of Manly Men (book review)

Mansfield's Book Of Manly MenIn my experience, men today aren’t allowed to be true men, manly men. I’m sure there are a lot of reasons why (but that’s another subject for another time), but for those men who are yearning to be the manly men that God has created them to be, Mansfield’s Book Of Manly Men by Stephen Mansfield will make you jump up and growl!

Men are wired by God in a unique way that makes them, well, men. When men embrace their God-implanted uniqueness they become manly men (which is another way of saying God-honoring men) who are better husbands, fathers, friends, and citizens. Stephen Mansfield quickly outlines his four maxims for manly men, and then shares a list of manly qualities to which all manly men should strive.

Each of these manly qualities are introduced by the life story of a manly man from history’s pages. Mansfield presents these men in all their manliness, including both their strengths and weaknesses; there are no perfect men, but there are many real men from which Mansfield allows us to learn. These manly qualities also come with some real in-your-face challenges of how to assess the growth of that quality in a man’s life.

In the foreword, written by retired Lt. General William G. Boykin (himself a true manly man), is this challenge: “This book is a must read for every American male. We must restore the understanding of what it means to be a manly man. The nation’s future depends on getting back to the fundamentals of being men of courage and values.” I couldn’t have said it any better!

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

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