Stand Up and Fight Back–Book Review

Empower-StandUpStand Up and Fight Back: How to Take Authority over Satan and Win was written by New York Times best-selling author Ken Abraham. I had heard of this author, but never read any of his material. Since I write extensively about spiritual warfare as well as teaching about it in church, the title immediately caught my attention and I knew I’d need to read it.

In Stand Up and Fight Back, the author shows us how we can recognize Satan’s constant attacks in our lives, how we can protect ourselves, and how to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit to defeat our greatest Enemy. Personally I feel as if the author delivered on most of these counts fairly well.

First of all, I was happy to see this book because I believe the topic of spiritual warfare is grossly underrated in the church community. Generally we like to talk about the armor of God with no real intent to use it daily. I believe Ken Abraham does an excellent job addressing the need for Christians to wake up and realize, whether they like it or not, they are under attack.

I was particularly pleased with the author’s insight into the familiar story of Adam and Eve. Having been in church most of my life and read an extensive amount of material on spiritual warfare, I cringed a bit when I started reading, again, about Adam and Eve. However, I was quite surprised at how much I learned from Abraham’s perspective of what happened in the Garden of Eden. He managed to take an overused story and bring it to life, shedding new light on old truths. I thought this area of the book was brilliantly written and well explained. I have to admit, I learned a great deal from it.

The author also uses thought-provoking illustrations throughout the book, many of which enhanced my understanding of familiar truths. One topic in particular stood out to me: repentance. This is something very few writers mention when dealing with spiritual warfare, but something Ken Abraham wisely addressed. In order to effectively fight against Satan and his cohorts, we must first come to God with an attitude of repentance. This is, of course, a biblical mandate (see Psalm 66:18) of which few teachers like to talk about. Before we can take authority over evil spirits, our lives must be cleansed of known sin and be in agreement with God, otherwise we can claim all the authority we want with little success. Confession should always be the first step when we approach God’s throne, whether we’re dealing with spiritual warfare or not. Thank you, Ken Abraham, for highlighting this important truth.

My only critique of this book is the author’s focus on the “big” sins: sexual promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, and involvement with the occult. Obviously these things are deadly and allow Satan a beachhead (foothold) in our lives. BUT, they are not the only areas of oppression the devil uses. Countless believers are daily living under accusation and oppression from demonic spirits who have successfully lulled them into complacency over their spiritual lives. I wish the author had offered more examples of the “every-day” battles common to most believers. I fear some may read this and get the idea that, because they have never struggled with the “big” sins, they are free and clear. This is not the case! Satan can and does attempt to deceive and mislead us in the mundane issues of life.

Overall I really did enjoy this book and learned some new things, so I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to understand how Satan could be working in their lives and how they can combat the Enemy with the truth.

Stand Up and Fight Back was released by Charisma House on February 5th, 2013 and is currently available for purchase. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions here are strictly my own.

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Book Review: Healing the Hurts of Your Past by F. Remy Diederich

Healing-the-Hurts-of-Your-Past-StackHealing the Hurts of Your Past: Overcoming the Pain of Shame by F. Remy Diederich can only be described as a life-altering read. The main topic of discussion in this book is shame, learning how to recognize it and defeat its power in your life. If you’re thinking, “Oh, I don’t struggle with shame, I’ve never done anything that bad,” I urge you to purchase this book anyway. You’ll probably be surprised at the things you’ll discover you believed about yourself and how it has negatively affected your life.

As a person who has been through every recovery book known to man, who has lived life as an addict and been set free from a multitude of other spiritual strongholds, I thought I would read things in this book that were familiar concepts or things I had already mastered in previous recovery efforts. I never expected it to have the impact on my life that it did. It’s one thing to be set free from destructive behaviors, it’s another thing altogether to discover what beliefs and attitudes propelled the wrong behavior in the first place. That’s exactly what this book does in an amazingly brilliant way.

Healing the Hurts of Your Past helped me to see the destructive role shame has played in my life over the years, and how easy it is to overlook it, thinking some other source is the cause of my problems. Nearly every “bad” behavior, whether physical (promiscuity) or emotional (bitterness) can be traced back to the pain of shame.

This book needs to be in the hands of every recovering addict, for one, as well as parents and loved ones of people who are struggling with addiction, mental issues, depression, and suicidal tendencies. This book will change how you view your loved one who is suffering in these ways. And if you’re the person who is suffering emotionally, this book (if you apply what you learn) will change your life too. If I had enough money I’d give everyone I know a copy of Healing the Hurts of Your Past.

Honestly I was blown away at how accurate it describes the mind and the way shame affects so many areas of our lives from perfectionism to the way we raise our kids. The biggest takeaway for me was discovering how the shame I’d lived with had actually influenced the way I parented my child. I was able to see just how much emotional trauma I could potentially place on my child if I allowed shame’s fruit to ripen in my life. It’s easy to admit that our problems affect us; it’s a whole other issue to admit our problems affect our children too.

So, thank you Remy, for writing this book and sharing this truth with the world.

Though author Remy Diederich had previously given me another one of his books to read/review (read my review of STUCK), this book was something I purchased on my own because I loved his other book so much. Everything I’m writing here is my own opinion and was not coerced in any way. I have not received anything in return for writing this review.

To purchase Healing the Hurts of Your Past or Stuck by F. Remy Diederich from the publisher, click HERE. To purchase on Amazon click HERE for Healing the Hurts or HERE for STUCK: How to Mend and Move on from Broken Relationships.

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F. Remy Diederich is the author of Healing the Hurts of Your Past…a guide to Remyovercoming the pain of shame and STUCK…how to mend and move on from broken relationships. He is the founding pastor of Cedarbrook Church in Wisconsin, the spirituality consultant at Arbor Place Treatment Center, and offers retreats and seminars based on his two books.

I encourage you to follow Remy on Facebook or Twitter and follow his blog: http://readingremy.com
You can also email Remy at: remydiederich@yahoo.com

The Radical Question/A Radical Idea by David Platt

radicalcover The Radical Question–A Radical Idea by David Platt is a small book, what I might describe as a gift book, that basically highlights the key messages from his full length books: Radical, and Radical Together. Reading this book(-let) was quick and easy yet full of deep meaning. I found myself highlighting nearly every line. In short, I loved this book and am inspired to go purchase the other full length books to gain a greater insight into David Platt’s message.

The radical question David poses? “What is Jesus worth to you?” Is He worth denying self and sacrificing the comforts of the American dream to reach the world with His message of life? Just what kind of radical devotion do we really have? Or is our  Christian life more about adding a little bit of Jesus into our personal agendas of health, wealth, and happiness?

And David’s radical idea? What would it look like if churches stopped spending millions of dollars on bigger better buildings and started redirecting those funds to meet the needs of countless millions in poverty around the world? Of course, his reasons and explanations go much deeper than that, but overall it is a question too important to ignore.

One pointed example he brings to light: the front of a Christian magazine proclaims in large letters how a church spends 23 million dollars on a new building. Then in smaller letters on the front page, that same church is praised for sending five thousand dollars to a third world country. I mean, wow. Five thousand dollars versus 23 million? Where is the church’s focus?

More than just preaching a message, David Platt and his congregation practice their words with tangible action. For instance, they cut 83% of their worship budget to use those resources overseas–spreading the gospel and meeting the needs of the poor, sick, and helpless. They realized that having the newest best technology, most talented singers/performers, or fancy productions was not nearly as important as meeting the needs of the world. What a radical idea!

I can say that fortunately I am a part of a church much like this: extremely outward focused. But many churches could use a prod in that direction, and these books by David Platt are a great place to start. Bravo, Mr. Platt, for speaking up and challenging the church to think about what the world would look like if we did unite in radical devotion to Jesus.

(I received this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah for review purposes only and was not required to give a positive review. The opinions here were strictly my own.)

When Life’s a Herd of Chaos by Rachel Quinley

When Life’s a Herd of Chaos by Rachel Quinley has to be one of the most unique devotionals I have ever read. I absolutely love it. I think I’ve read so many devotionals over the years I’ve become jaded. After all, how many times have lovely sentiments been written with a verse tacked on and a prayer thrown in? Don’t get me wrong, I love devotionals, obviously, because I write them as well. But sometimes they all run together in an ooze of inspiration that never really does what it’s intended to do: awaken spiritual growth.

Such is not the case in When Life’s a Herd of Chaos. This devotional is not only different than anything you’ll probably read (as far as devotionals go); it is also riddled with humor. Rachel has so much charisma as she retells her personal experiences and challenges the reader to examine their hearts. I really cannot praise this book enough. As typical for a devotional, each inspiration has a verse and prayer included, but even the format behind that is much different than one might expect. The illustrations are marvelous and unexpected. I found myself laughing and being convicted in the time span it took to read the short writings—about two minutes or so. The following are some examples of chapter titles to whet your appetite:

Who Gives a Care?

Feel Like a Reject?

In a Jam and Can’t Get Out

A Quarter-Back Christian

Don’t Explode—Go Slow! When you’re ready to wrap a golf club around a tree because you missed a shot, step back, lay the club down, and if necessary, pick up your bag and go home. That’s better than ruining your golf club—and Christian reputation.” (pp.21-22)

The above quote is one of many humorous illustrations making important—convicting—points of truth. I love this devotional, I refer to it over and over again, and I strongly urge you to pick up a copy for yourself. Rachel Quinley sent a copy to me personally, and she assures me she will do the same for anyone else interested. You can contact her at rachelquinley@att.net for pricing and shipping information. You can also read more from “When Life’s a Herd” as well as other inspiring devotionals on her blog: Rachel’s Knee Mail.

(I received this book from Rachel Quinley in exchange for my honest review. I was not paid to give a good review, and every opinion here is strictly my own.)

Rachel Quinley is an experienced writer and speaker, having traveled throughout the United Staes, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands, sharing devotions at Christian seminars and conferences. She is also a published writer for magazines and leadership manuals. Rachel and her husband, Ernest, live in Mobile, Al.