From Dirty to Dancing

From Dirty to DancingThis short read (90 pages), From Dirty To Dancing (God’s Grace for Those Struggling With Pornography) by Conquerors through Christ Chairman Mike Novotny is a helpful and honest approach to a subject that is often overlooked in Christian circles. Mike shares his own journey with purity, redirects the reader back to Christ, and shares concrete steps for those struggling as well as for friends, parents, and ministry leaders.

When I was asked to write a review for this book, I was eager for several reasons. The author takes a topic that is often considered too awkward and shameful to openly discuss and skillfully addresses it as an addiction, yet not as one that is outside the reach of God’s glorious grace and forgiveness. Read that again. Pornography is an addiction that is not outside the reach of God’s glorious grace and forgiveness. Pastor Mike challenges the reader to become intimately involved with our own spiritual care and that of others, especially those belonging to the household of believers.

“Porn is our struggle, our fight, our concern—because porn is affecting us”.

This book is not only for those addicted to porn but also for concerned parents, betrayed spouses, called workers, and those caring enough to reach out to a hurting brother or sister in Christ who is or has been hurt or enslaved by porn. I have had students in my own classroom, family members, and friends of friends who have struggled mightily with pornography, and I have viewed the damage firsthand that it can wreak on relationships, careers, and hearts. But there is good news amidst all this heartache and pain. It is possible to find healing and restoration. It is possible to go From Dirty To Dancing.

You’ve most likely heard the admonition “Don’t judge another until you’ve walked a mile in his/her shoes.” Well friends, Jesus did just that. He left his throne on high and walked 33 years in our shoes as he took on flesh and blood. He wasn’t too proud to associate with the likes of us. Jesus knew human beings would have a difficult time resisting sexual sins, and this is why He speaks so often about them in Scripture. In the chapter “The Dirty Can Dance,” the author refers to accounts recorded in Scripture where individuals struggled with sexual sins and came away “dancing.” It’s true we have a shrewd and deceitful adversary who seeks to win us over; Satan knows our every weakness and where we are most apt to fall prey to temptation. Yet in the Bible we hear story after story of our Savior spending time with those who were tempted and fell. He understood their struggles. He took time out of His busy schedule to walk with them and talk with them. He says to come as you are, but don’t remain as you were. Isn’t this the story of every Christian? We struggle. We fall. We’re forgiven. This is the power of the gospel.

The author’s straight forward approach to dealing with an addiction to pornography, including timely humor, is refreshing. He begins with the challenge of airing one’s dirty laundry for the sake of accountability. He provides a helpful list of dos and don’ts for airing dirty laundry. When God’s people are too ashamed to confess their sins to one another, Satan gains ground. He tempts Christians to believe the fight is theirs alone. The author stresses that acknowledging and confessing one’s sin is paramount to overcoming addiction. Furthermore, fellow Christians will prove to be worthy allies in the fight. As the body of believers, “Porn is our struggle, our fight, our concern—because porn is affecting us” (p.61). Romans 6:6 tells us God has set us free from the slavery of sin. It is refreshing to be reminded that God delights in His children. He has lovingly set us in church families. The family of believers can help one another with these addictions.

The author compares the fight against porn to dancing. It may seem awkward and uncomfortable at first but following some basic steps can help develop spiritual muscles. The book contains much practical help for doing this. For instance, those who struggle can avert weak and vulnerable moments by keeping in mind their H.E.A.L.T.H., which stands for Hungry, Energy, Angry, Lonely, Tired, and Heart.

The author manages to present an often-depressing subject in a consistently positive way. Instead of feeling shamed and hopeless, God’s children are reminded that “our dirty doesn’t stop Him from dancing” (p.89). Jesus told a parable about a young man who squandered his inheritance on wild and lascivious living; however, when he returned home, he received forgiveness and then heard music and dancing. (Luke 15:25) The same victory awaits all who cling to Jesus’ promises through His Word and the loving encouragement of brothers or sisters in Christ.

Reviewer: Mary E. Hochmuth
Review Date: July 20, 2020

Publishing Information: Northwestern Publishing House: 2018 (89 pages)

Northwestern Publishing House

Using Psalm 32 as a model or template for repentance.

Using Psalm 23 for symptoms of depression.

The Child of God Counseling* uses II Corinthians 5:19 when a person has trouble forgiving someone else.


The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:28-29

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39

Perhaps you are a laid-back person by nature. But no matter how laid back you may be, we all definitely have moments of anxiety and worry. They often come in the middle of the night, and they can feel similar to storms that arise out of nowhere in our heads—waves of insecurity, what-ifs, unknowns, and to-do lists. In those moments, God’s clear commands throughout Scripture to BE STILL invite you to look through the fog to His Word that can serve like the beacon from a lighthouse. They aren’t just calming words He says to placate us. There is power behind those words—the power of the LORD Almighty. He’s the One who fights for us. He’s the Fortress we run to. He’s the Calmer of all of our storms.

What storms do you need God to calm for you right now? What’s standing in the way of God’s command to be still? How can you remind yourself daily of God’s power and control?

Something that may be helpful in the middle of the night: Take a deep slow breath, and while you’re breathing in, say the words, “Be still.” Hold your breath as you picture your mind as a sea growing ever calmer until it is as still and clear as glass. Then breathe out and say, “and know that I am God.” Picture all of your worries flowing out through your breath into the arms of Jesus, who has invited us to give Him all our burdens, and who has the power to do something about them.


Be still, my soul; your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He lived below. Amen.

Hymn 415 vs. 2


Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

What is one of the first Bible stories (truths) that really made an impression on you? Maybe you were a child, or maybe you were an adult, hearing one for the first time. Was it the account of Noah fitting all those animals onto an ark? Or was it Jonah getting swallowed by the fish? Maybe it was the miracle of Jesus walking on water—or rising from the dead.

There is a beautiful story in the Bible involving a man who was wronged forgiving his brothers who had wronged him. Joseph is the man who was wronged by his brothers. They had hated him and almost killed him, and then sold him as a slave to Egyptians instead. He hadn’t seen them for years, and when he told them who he was they were terrified, because now he was in a place of power to exact his revenge. But he didn’t. Instead he hugged them and kissed them and wept over them. He told them to not be angry with themselves for what they did, because he had come to see that what happened to him was all part of God’s plan. He talked with them and fed them and gave them and their families the best part of the land of Egypt to live in. What an amazing demonstration of forgiveness! (Check out Genesis 45 if you’ve never read it—or even if you have!)

Forgiveness is a difficult gift to give to someone. While there are ultimately benefits to giving forgiveness, initially it involves tremendous sacrifice. Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever been hurt so deeply by another person that you can’t imagine moving beyond it? Have you felt the burden of knowing forgiveness is what God asks of you (Luke 17:3-4), but having no idea where to start and not really wanting to? When we forgive, we give up the right to receive repayment for the wrong someone has done to us, and that is not easy. When forgiveness seems impossible, remember this:
God gives us the motivation and the ability to forgive. He modeled it through His Son, and He empowers us through His Spirit.

We forgive because we have been forgiven. We who are the “worst” of sinners (I Timothy 1:15) are invited to consider these beautiful truths about God’s forgiveness of us:

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12

Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12

(Just want to make sure you caught this one. Have you ever stayed up at night thinking about sins you’ve committed in the past? God doesn’t think about them—he doesn’t even remember them!)

God’s forgiveness involved tremendous sacrifice! It involved the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus took all of our sins on Himself and took the punishment for them so that no repayment will ever be expected from us. Read His promises when you have trouble feeling forgiven yourself, and read His promises when you have trouble forgiving someone else. God promises us that His Holy Spirit uses those words to empower us to do what He asks.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25

The account of Joseph and his brothers is a beautiful story of forgiveness. We are part of a beautiful story of forgiveness too. May God fill you with love and strength as you live out that story with the people He has put in your life.


Dear God, it is amazing to me that when You look at me you don’t see my sin! Thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus that gave that to me, and help me be confident of Your forgiveness when I struggle with guilt. Help me to view the people around me with those same forgiving eyes and compassionate heart. Amen.

Jesus Died so I could Live

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Job 38:5-7

We all like to be in control. It’s why some of us are planners, why some would rather drive than fly, why many of us would rather be the driver than the passenger. In our minds we often struggle when we have to hand over control to others. When faced with a potential problem we can move into “solution mode”. What do I need to do? Where do I need to go? How can I fix this? Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. But often times we encounter things that are entirely out of our control. At those times our first instinct is to panic. Now what?

God has to teach us to react differently. Perhaps that’s why He gave us the book of Job. Though it may seem a little strange, considering the content, it can be one of the most comforting books in the Bible. Job’s life was out of control, and in the end he didn’t even get any answers—no solutions about how to change things or what he should have done differently. He got bad advice from friends, and then he got a bunch of questions from God. But in those questions we see Who is ultimately in control: God.

He was in control at creation (Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb?). He controls the weather (What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?). He controls the animals (Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions?). He controls justice (Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his?). He was in control of Job’s life (Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised), just as He is in control of ours. And He’s in control of our death, with a promise of eternity that is just as real as Job’s was:

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:26-27

Knowing that our lives are in the hands of a God so powerful—that He who controls the universe also directs our steps—is only comforting because of who God is and what He has done. If Job can serve as one of the most comforting books of the Bible, Romans 8 is one of the most comforting chapters. God’s power and control over us is rivaled only by His love for us. So instead of panicking when something is out of our control, we can rest secure, convinced of the truth that:

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39


Lord God, I struggle with control. I know you are always in control, but it doesn’t always feel like it. I get overwhelmed and think that I need to be in control of my life. Jesus, you are my life. You are my refuge and strength in good all things. Give me the peace of mind to know that you are always in control as you direct and guide my life according to your good and gracious will. In your name, I pray. Amen.


Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. James 1:17

Did you spend some time focusing on what you’re grateful for this past week? If you did, you may have greatly improved your physical and emotional health. Over the past 20 years, numerous research studies have found that practicing gratitude on a regular basis has amazing positive effects. Being thankful can lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, reduce depressive symptoms, enhance your long-term happiness, increase your self-esteem, improve your relationships, and even change and rewire your brain. People in all parts of the world and in all types of circumstances are recognizing the value in noticing and naming something to be grateful for every day.

For many, gratitude is simply a positive mindset or a good feeling, with the focus on gifts in this life. As Christians, we don’t just have something to be grateful for, we have Someone to be grateful to! Our focus is on the Giver of those gifts—the Source of all of our blessings, both in this life and in the next. Consider what Scripture tells us about the One who is worthy of our gratitude:

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. I Chronicles 16:34

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Psalm 107:8

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57

We give thanks to you, LORD God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. Revelation 11:17

We don’t just practice gratitude because of the many health benefits or because it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside (though it’s pretty cool of God that it works that way). We practice gratitude because it is the natural response to learning more about our God who gives us “every good and perfect gift.” So how do we thank Him? It’s one thing to feel gratitude, but how do we live it out? The Bible gives us a couple of ideas:

With our words and actions: And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

With our worship: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28

With our prayers: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

With our gifts: You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11

With our service to others: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. I Peter 4:10

With our testimony: I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

As we look forward to our Savior’s second coming, let’s turn our focus from the blessings we have to the One who has blessed us, looking forward to the day we get to thank Him in person. As good as gratitude can feel, nothing will compare with that!


Dear Father, thank you for all the blessings you continually give us—for everything we need in this life, and for everything we need for eternal life. Keep our focus on you as the Giver of it all, and empower us to live out lives of gratitude until we see you face to face. Amen.