Her Own Patch of Rain

Her Own Patch of RainHelen Baylor is a WELS member (Atonement Congregation). She served the MPS as a school counselor for years. She is a gardener, a mother, an artist, and a graduate of the “Guide Me With Your Counsel” curriculum. She presently lives in Mequon.

This book is about family tradition, Christianity, growing things, and family. It involves a practical demonstration of both the Repentance Model and the Forgiveness Process.

Hon is a young daughter and she and her two siblings, Sammy and Florence, face a summer of drought and the separation of her father from the family. Depression and couple conflict are seen through the eyes of this child as she talks to her mother. Her mother tells her the story of her life as a child when her father left the family for awhile. While that helps Hon, what really helps her is the power of the “Living Water that quenches spiritual dryness for future generations.”

Parents will be helped as they read this book and struggle with how to talk about their marital difficulties with their children. Children who are seeing their parents in conflict will be helped as they struggle with the uncertainty of their future.

You will be enriched as you read this simple story of love – the love of a daughter for her family and for her Lord. The message of God’s Word builds trust.

Baylor, A. Helen, Her Own Patch of Rain: The Prayer of a Young Daughter
A Pleasant Word – a division of Wine Press Group, Mequon: 2010. 78 Pages.

Book Review by Alan Siggelkow

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

Lust is the problem

Lust is the problemSex Is Not The Problem (Lust Is) may be one of the best books on the market today to help us counsel people in our struggle against the enslavement of sexual sin. It is especially useful for people who are under age 25. It is good not just because of its practical advice, but because of the stress which the author, Joshua Harris, usually gives to the Grace of God. The Gospel shines forth throughout most of this book in a way that is not found in many of the other books on the subject of sexual sin.

In the first section of the book Harris develops his statement regarding the “truth about lust.” He really talks about the power of the Gospel. His chapter titles read, “Not even a hint,” “Sex is not the problem,” and “You can’t save yourself.”

I love God, but I cannot continue to ask for forgiveness over and over and over for the same thing.

In the second section of the book Harris becomes more practical, talking about “A custom-tailored plan” and the differences between “Guys and Girls” in connection with lust and sexual use and dependence. His chapter on “Self-centered sex” may be the weakest in the book. He cannot seem to see the problem of lust in connection with masturbation as well as he see the problem of the sin of lust in connection with his other topics. The final chapter of this section deals with the temptations of the media.

Harris develops strategies for change in the third section of the book. Here he devotes a chapter to accountability partners. Another chapter speaks of the power of the Word of God. He lists many helpful Bible passages, but we would classify many of them as Law passages. The reader will want to supply Gospel passages of forgiveness for this chapter in addition to the passages that Harris lists. In his final chapter on sowing in the Spirit, Harris writes: “Remember that your hope for change is based in God’s grace. It’s because Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins that you can stand justified before God and know that he will sanctify you…. You can press towards God’s standard of not even a hint of sexual immorality in the unshakeable confidence that through faith in Christ you stand before God with not even a hint of guilt. Because of Jesus Christ, we have victory over lust.” p. 171.

The appendices at the end of the book are valuable. “Purity Download, Seven tips for fighting internet porn,” is a helpful addition of practical insights. “The Path of Repentance” by John Loftness is helpful, but the power of the Gospel and the Word of God as a means of grace is not properly stressed and will need to be added by the reader.

I’ve come to believe that lust may be the defining struggle for this generation.

Over-all, I would recommend this book as a very useful tool to be read by those seeking to get out of the cycle of the sin of pornography. It is also a very good discussion tool for friends to help friends who are struggling with porn use. It offers a good template for continuing discussion.

Buy Now
Author: Joshua Harris
186 pages
Reviewed by: Alan Siggelkow on July, 2013

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