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Then he [David] took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. (I Samuel 17:40)

David defeated Goliath with a sling and a stone. This is an amazing story. It is not humanly possible that a boy could slay a seasoned man-killer, a giant with sticks and stones, but he did! How could this possibly happen? The weapons for David’s warfare were sticks and stones, but the foundation for victory was already laid! David trusted in his God to win the battle. He put five stones into his pouch. These were some simple tools of warfare that he brought into battle; however, he trusted God for the victory before he put the stones in his pouch. This “Five Stones of Battle” tool was designed to be a foundation as you start on your journey, fighting the battle against the pull of lust and pornography. Many men have found these principles to be significant in beginning to understand how lust and pornography can be such a strong temptation. We hope that you will take the time to read the stories, understand the principles, and practice the exercises.

1st Stone - YOUR STRUGGLE IS NOT UNIQUE One of Satan’s goals is to isolate Christian men. He knows that a soldier who is isolated is easy to attack and destroy. As a result, Satan has done a great job - convincing many Christian men like us that we are alone in our struggle with lust and pornography. It seems to us that other Christian men around us live without any real temptation. We are left feeling alone, full of shame, and hopeless. Here is the truth: Nearly every man on the planet fights this relentless struggle with lust. It can pull us toward the pit of pornography and eventually, many fall into it. Some fall so deeply into the pit that they feel hopeless and some, in fact, don't ever find their way out. We continually hear in the news the heartbreaking stories about men who have lost everything due to sexual issues. Now I have read a great deal of research and statistics on pornography use by men. Let's say that the following statistics are only half true: Over 2 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

70% of Christian men1 and 54% of pastors2 admit that they have a personal struggle with pornography. So you are not alone in your fight to destroy the pull of lust and pornography. We are in this struggle together. JOHN’S STORY John came to see me when he was 38 years old. At age 14 he had started pornography when he found his Dad’s stash of magazines in the garage. He attended a Christian college, graduated, and was married with three children when I met him. He had served on mission trips, participated in Bible studies, and loved the Lord, but John’s use of pornography grew and slowly it began to isolate him from his friends, church activities, and even his loved ones. He felt his relationship with God was almost nonexistent. John told me, “I don’t know anyone who does pornography. My friends would never. Those on the mission trip would never. My pastor would never. I don’t know what is wrong with me.” As a result, he thought he wasn’t good enough to serve God on the mission field or anywhere else. He stopped going to church altogether. He had started to emotionally isolate himself from his family. John began to spend less and less time in prayer and Bible study and more and more time feeling defeated. The enemy's lie that he was “the only one” was defeating him so that he was becoming hopeless. When I shared with John the truth about how many Christian men struggle with the pull of lust and pornography in their daily lives, and how many I helped to be free, he was amazed. I immediately saw a renewed vigor and enthusiasm to learn and understand how God has provided the way to freedom. Knowing that he was not some defective, weird, perverse hypocrite allowed him to concentrate on HOW to be free. He was no longer trapped in the lie, “What is so wrong with me? WHY am I the only one?” Once John understood the truth - that this is a common battle for men – he was able to concentrate on freedom instead of hopelessness and begin to apply the principles of the MindArmor® Training Tools. God's Word says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” - 1 Corinthians 10:13

2nd Stone - DOUBLE-MINDED: PULLED IN TWO DIRECTIONS Double-minded means that there are two minds, which are in opposition to each other. The first mind is from God and is aware that lust and pornography are evil. But at the same time, we have another mind, the "mind of the flesh" that draws us toward the darkness of lust and 1

April 6, 2007 poll conducted by CNN.

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pornography. James 1 tells us that a double-minded man is unstable. I want you to think with me, unstable where? Where would we be unstable? We would be unstable because we have a pull toward lust and pornography and away from the truth. Being double-minded is what makes a person unstable in this area of lust and pornography and prevents us from having victory. So if you are wondering what the reason is that you are failing in this war against lust and pornography, it is because there are two minds that are in opposition to each other. Romans 8:6 says, “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” So the second stone in our pouch is to know that there are two forces at war - the mind of the flesh is at war with the mind of the Spirit. MY OWN STORY (DR. AL’S STORY): When the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin, and I knew that I was absolutely connected to the pit of hell, I was broken, grateful and committed to Jesus as my Savior. I bowed my knee and surrendered to Christ as Lord. I went all in and sold out to Jesus. At first it was easy to remain single-minded in my relationship with God, I was filled with the joy of my salvation. I felt innocent for the first time in my life. About two years later, I was assaulted. Yes, assaulted! The pull of the “lust of the flesh” jumped on me, grabbed me and hijacked me. I can still remember the first time I was attacked. I was holding my wife’s hand enjoying the day with her and walking through a shopping mall. I was attacked by images that seemed to come from the ad displays on every storefront. The visuals had always been there but passed me by unnoticed before. My brain switched on auto drive as the images poured into my brain. I was becoming double-minded. No, I became double-minded. The giant was right there in front of me attacking me, and I had nothing new in my bag to fight with. I felt defenseless. I tried to fight the assaults with what I had, but my willpower was only effective for a short time before I would give in, do shame, and repent; give in, do shame, and repent - on and on. I hated the entire process and yet, I could feel the pull demanding its way. So my first discovery was that I was in a fight, and the fight was within a part of me that was pulling me toward the lust of the flesh. The Spirit helped me to understand that I was double-minded. Being doubleminded was making me unstable and weak in my fight against temptation. It took me three years of relentless study, prayer, and meditation to learn how I was doing double-minded. I discovered some important truths about how God designed the human brain to operate, and God taught me how to apply His Word in order to experience true freedom from lust and pornography. It was during this time that God gave me the principles that have made it 4 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

possible for me to develop tools that would destroy the pull – MindArmor® Training Tools. It has been exciting to see God use these tools in the lives of Christian men to help them find freedom from the pull of lust and pornography. This was over 25 years ago, and I can tell you that it is so liberating to be free. Now I can hold my wife’s hand and feel connected to only her, and I can experience a personal relationship with God, unclouded by the sins of lust and pornography.

3rd Stone - SHAME: SATAN’S POWER PLAY And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)

Here is a spiritual truth that surprises many Christian men: shame about our sin can never set us free. In our own minds, shame sounds simply like the facts, doesn’t it? Shame makes us ask ourselves questions like: What’s wrong with me? How could I do that? I must not be a Christian! There is no hope for me – I am never going to be free! I am not fit for ministry! Shame is never from God. As Romans 5:5 says, God’s love for us will never lead us to shame. It is a destructive emotion that does not lead to hope or freedom. Shame, in fact, leaves us disoriented and puts us into a cycle that traps us, and we find ourselves stumbling right back into lust and pornography. BILL’S STORY When I met Bill, he was profoundly depressed. He felt like he was caught in a revolving hurricane with no way out, and the cycle seemed to be spinning faster and faster. Bill was feeling a lot of stress. He would use pornography because it seemed to provide relief for his stress. He then would enter shame - because he knew that pornography is sinful. He thought that shame would provide him the motivation he needed to stop doing pornography; however, shame only increased his feeling of stress. He would try harder, pray harder, study harder, and use his willpower more. Eventually Bill would always find himself back in pornography. There were times when Bill’s wife caught him. She felt deeply hurt and betrayed. This caused even more shame. He attended various groups that talked about the problem, but felt shame every time he confessed. One group even kicked him out for failing. SHAME and more SHAME! So he committed to trying even harder. The more shame he felt, the harder he would try, but trying harder just meant more stress, and this stress would eventually bring him back to the only thing that he knew to find some relief - pornography. 5 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

Sometimes he would win for a couple weeks - even a couple of months - but was never able to escape the cycle. The very shame that Bill was trying to use as a motivation to live righteously, Satan was using to repeatedly drag him back into the destructive cycle of lust and pornography. Satan has deceived the Christian community into believing that shame will help us and motivate us to righteousness. Satan has created a powerful trap to keep us stuck on a destructive merry-go-round of sinful choices.

4th Stone - INJECTING THE PORNOGRAPHY DRUG Your brain is wired to enjoy sex! Enjoying sex with your spouse is a gift from our God. We are designed to enjoy sex and experience this act of love that binds two people together. God has designed sexual love to fill the brain and body with intensely pleasurable emotions. These powerful emotions come from a number of chemicals that are released into the brain and give us the feelings we call sexual pleasure. The brain reacts to visual information more quickly than from any other source. The pleasure center of the brain, the limbic system, processes the visual stimuli in nanoseconds - much faster than the response to heroin or cocaine. Like narcotic drugs, pornography releases powerful chemicals that take control of the rational parts of your brain. It can quickly become an addiction for every man who consumes it. When we take the “drug” called pornography, it affects how the brain works and changes the functionality of our microscopic brain cells. Our brains are made up of tiny chemicals called neurotransmitters. These tiny chemicals drive our emotions, feelings, and behaviors. In essence, the only difference between a heroin addict, a cocaine addict, or an addict to pornography is the way the drug enters the system. When you view pornography it is like injecting a needle of toxic chemicals into your brain. I have worked with thousands of people over the past twenty-five years, and I want to make it clear - lust and pornography are not just a spiritual problem. It is also a brain chemistry problem. Remember that when we consume lust and pornography, the effect on our brain is the same as consuming a drug like heroin or cocaine. 6 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

Take a look at all the seven powerful chemicals that are injected into your brain when you do pornography: Epinephrine - also known as adrenaline. Epinephrine is a hormone that prepares the body for action while suppressing its other non-emergency needs. It is involved in long-term memory and is one reason why pornographic images can be “imprinted” in the mind. Testosterone - the human body’s self-created steroid. An increase of testosterone leads to an increased sexual desire. Because of testosterone, viewing pornography and masturbating may increase your sexual desire rather than suppress it. Testosterone is also linked to aggression. Endorphins - the human body’s self-created morphine. Endorphins can directly cause feelings of euphoria or ecstasy. Oxytocin - a bonding chemical involved in sexual arousal. It is associated with feelings of love and bonding with another human being. Tragically, when one views pornography and masturbates, one bonds to an image rather than another human person. Beginning at age 8-10, oxytocin begins to be released into the brain. This is a person-to-person bonding hormone. It has also been scientifically proven to create feelings of bonding; it can also reduce or block stress. This chemical is known as the “cuddle chemical” and the “love hormone” - the glue that bonds parents to children and lovers to each other. Dopamine - a neurotransmitter. It plays an important role in behavior, reward, and feelings of pleasure. This is the “I need, I want. I crave a lot more of this because it feels so good” drug. It gets us out of bed to accomplish our goals, and sex gives us plenty of this pleasure chemical so that we want more and more of it. Serotonin - a neurotransmitter directly related to your emotional state. Higher levels of serotonin have been associated with feelings of relaxation and euphoria. 7 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

Phenylethylamine - a substance chemically related to amphetamines. It has been called the “love chemical” because it mimics the brain chemistry of someone in love. It can also produce euphoric moods.

5th Stone - HOW NOT WHY: BECOMING THE OBJECTIVE OBSERVER OF YOUR MIND When we ask ourselves questions like “Why?” or “How?” - our brains do a “search” looking for the answers. In counseling, much effort is often put into the question of why we act the way we do. Why questions create a completely different search in our brains than how questions. Why questions can become an excuse for what we are doing. Lots of reasons can come up when we ask the why questions, but none of the answers change the fact that we are consuming pornography. We can discover lots of information about ourselves and about brain chemistry; why men are different than women and why men struggle with lust and pornography. However, this kind of information does not create transformation. If we ask ourselves why we do pornography, the answers are just as likely to spin us into feelings of shame or hopelessness. We may begin to believe them as facts. The why answers can become excuses that actually convince us that we are powerless to change. It is because I am a man. It is because men are more visual. Men are just made this way. I just need to try harder. I need more faith. The answers to the why question can be one of the enemy's dangerous and purposeful, deceptive tactics that wrap around our minds making us feel more confused, defeated, and hopeless - choking the life of freedom right out of us. When we ask ourselves how we do something, it creates a completely different search for the brain. For example, asking, “How do you change the oil in your car?” is quite a different search than asking, “Why do you change the oil in your car?” I can know why but never know how. The following statement is profound, and some of you will understand this more than others. Take time to really think about this statement. When we ask ourselves the how questions, we become outside objective observers of our own minds. We literally are able to observe how our mind works. And as we learn how our mind works, we become encouraged that 8 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

we can learn a new way. Knowing how we are doing something means that we can change. God has provided a way to transform. We highly recommend that you invest in MindArmor® Training Tools. The training program provides a systematic process of becoming the objective observer so that you can do the truth of God's Word. VICK’S STORY Vick was referred to me when he was 49 years old. He was a Christian who had seen three different psychologists and participated in several men’s groups over 20 years. He worked in a very highly pressured job. As a result, Vick often found himself very stressed and angry. He even suffered from an ulcer. Vick had been involved in several affairs and was addicted to pornography. He had shared his struggle with stress, affairs, and pornography many times with the counselors and men's groups he had been in. Because of his experiences with counselors and men’s groups, he assumed that I was going to deal with the question of why he was in this horrible state. He shared with me that he would always end up feeling worse after counseling sessions - like he was defective and might not even be saved. Vick was shocked when I told him that I didn’t really care about why he was doing what he was doing. I wanted to know how he did stress and anger. Vick learned how to become the detective of his thoughts. This helped him know how he did stress and anger. (It may be difficult to understand the concept of "how he did stress" but be patient, and you will be like a light bulb turning on.) Vick learned that stress happened to him when internal snapshots popped into his head that showed him all the deadlines he had to meet. He then saw a video of himself scrambling, trying to keep up and barely making it, disappointing everyone in his life. He also heard an internal voice telling him that he was a loser and no one appreciated him. This quickly turned to anger, and he would become extremely demanding of those around him. What Vick discovered was that pornography was his way of finding relief from the horrible feelings of stress and anger. Lust and pornography filled his brain with chemicals that felt wonderful. . . even amazing. Of course, the relief was temporary and always turned back into shame and more stress. But while he was doing pornography, it felt good and seemed to relieve the stress and anger. By using the MindArmor® Training Tools, Vick learned how to become the detective of his thoughts. This taught him how he did stress and anger. He was able to retrain his brain to have healthy ways of dealing with the issues in his life.

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Exercise to Practice In order to become the object observer of your own mind, it is essential to understand how you do the specific thoughts of lust in order to combat and win the battle for freedom. Once you have identified how you do the thoughts of lust, you will begin to lay a foundation for destroying the false promises of pornography and replace these lustful thoughts with truth. I have prepared a simple exercise for you that is designed to help you learn how to be the objective observer of your own mind. Repeat these exercises regularly until you begin to understand how your mind is processing pornography. David spent many hours practicing with his slingshot before he walked into battle. Before he ever faced the giant, he learned to fight by protecting the sheep in the pasture. Paul said in Philippians 4:9, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me - everything you heard from me and saw me doing.” This is not a quick-fix that will instantly solve the lust and pornography problem, the more you practice becoming the objective observer of your thoughts, the easier it will be to become the master of your thoughts.

5 Stones to Battle the Giant Practical Exercises Learning to Observe How My Mind Does Pornography

Did you know that God has created us with a very unique skill? We can be the observer of what is happening in our own minds! All animals have thoughts, but God has uniquely created the human race with the ability to watch and analyze our own thoughts. You can become the detective of your thoughts. This exercise has been designed to begin to teach you to observe how your mind does the thoughts that produce the emotions that draw you to pornography. The principles you will be learning and practicing in the exercise are probably different from what you have heard in church. I would encourage you to approach these exercises with an open mind, asking God to reveal the truths He wants you to learn and understand. Ready? 10 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we should “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Have you ever heard a sermon on this principle? Most of us have heard pastors preach on this verse many times. I have asked thousands of people to define the words in this verse. Even though we have heard many sermons on taking our thoughts captive, we have missed the significance of how to do what the Word of God is clearly telling us we can do. Let’s take a closer look. . . As you complete this exercise, take a minute and really think about each question below before you continue to read. Write your answers in the space provided. 1. What is a thought? Think about this for a minute. What is your best answer?

How did you do? Many people will define a thought as “memories” or “experiences” or “ideas.” Though it is true that when we put thought together they construct memories, experiences, and ideas - this doesn’t help us understand what a thought is. Neuroscientists become technical about how neurons store information, the synaptic gap, etc. Though these answers are useful for understanding how a thought gets established in the brain, unfortunately they do not get us any closer to a helpful definition of what a thought is. So, what is a thought? I asked my friend Tom, who thought for a long time and finally said in frustration, “I can only think of definitions that include the words thought or think!” So most of us haven’t even been taught what a thought really is - let alone how to take it captive. God has given us the powerful tools we need to take thoughts captive to be the master of our thoughts. But most believers - after hearing passionate and moving sermons about taking thoughts captive - still do not know how. 11 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

This grieves my heart! It is no wonder that we continue to be stuck in our same problems. We need knowledge that will actually teach us how to take thoughts captive. OK, I want to help you understand what a thought is. 2. Think of someone you love. (It may help to close your eyes and think of someone you love.) Who is that person?

3. Can you see a picture of them in your mind?

4. Now, take a minute and think the “Lord’s Prayer.” (Recite it to yourself.)

5. Can you hear the words as you recite them?

Isn’t that amazing? God has created our brains with the ability to see pictures and hear words in our minds! So we can experience from this exercise what a thought is. The internal picture you see of the person you 12 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

love is the thought. The internal words you hear when you recite the “Lord’s Prayer” are the thoughts. So every internal picture is a thought and every internal word is a thought. Let’s learn a little bit more about our thoughts. 6. This time remember a pleasant memory - a vacation you went on or some special event you were in that you enjoyed.

Notice the details that are present in the pleasant memory or event. Is the picture big or small?

Is it black and white or is it in color?

Does it look like a still snap shot or a moving video?

How does the picture make you feel?

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So what is the significance of this exercise you just did? You just experienced the way God has created us to observe our thoughts. God created us with the amazing ability to observe our own thoughts. We all know that we think our thoughts, but now you know that we can actually observe and direct our own thoughts. When most people think their thoughts, they are only able to “do the thought.” Most people do not observe or evaluate the thought. They just think the thought and respond automatically to the emotions the thought generates; however, God has given us the ability and responsibility to take every picture and word (thought) captive. Unfortunately, many Christians have not yet learned how to observe their own thoughts. It is like being given a sharp axe with a dull steal cover. We are trying to chop down trees, but no one has taught us to take the cover off! Many of the words and pictures that are in our minds are lies that come from our sinful nature. As children of God, we have the ability to observe these thoughts and judge whether they are “obedient to Christ.” It is a gift that comes from God and allows us to become the detectives of our own minds, the objective observer of our thoughts. Now let’s apply this principle specifically to the issue of pornography. Because we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), we are aware that pornography is sinful, and our spiritual minds tell us that we should not do it. But when we do pornography, our minds are following a preprogrammed pattern. This pattern is coming from the “mind of the flesh,” which is feeding legitimate needs in inappropriate ways. Think about . . . would we do pornography if our brains first told us it was going to hurt us, destroy our ability to love, put us in shame, and give us more stress? If I told you to take your pen and jab it into the back of your hand, would you do it? Of course not! Then why do we do pornography if we know it is wrong? Our brain is giving us the opposite message. Our brain is showing us and telling us that pornography is going to feed us what we need - right now. We have been hijacked by our own thoughts. These kinds of thoughts pull us into the pit of pornography. It feels good, but we are hurting others and destroying our lives. (Galatians 6:7-8) 14 The Five Stones of Battle, © 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

We will be doing another short exercise. It is one that you can practice repeatedly as you begin to learn how to become the objective observer of your own mind. The purpose of the exercise is not to understand why you do pornography. It will help you understand how your brain does pornography. Remember one of the last times that you were tempted by lust and pornography. 1. What are some of the emotions that you were feeling at this time (stressed, angry, happy, lonely, afraid)? Think about each emotion. Did this emotion make the temptation feel stronger? How?

2. Were there any physical conditions that contributed to the temptation (hungry, tired, sick, energetic, etc.)? How did each physical condition make the pull of lust and pornography stronger?

3. Were there any circumstances that contributed to the temptation (alone, time of day or night, a specific place or activity)? How do these circumstances make the temptation feel stronger?

4. In order for lust and pornography to be tempting, your brain must tell you that it is going to help you in some way. Remember your thoughts while you were being tempted. How did your brain convince you that pornography would be helpful?

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Repeat the above exercise several times. Draw from several different memories. As you become the detective of your own mind, you may find a single pattern that your brain follows every time. Or you may find that your brain has more than one strategy to get the pornography that it wants. Observe your thoughts and learn how your brain has been doing lust and pornography. Again, the purpose of the exercise you just did is to help you learn to become a detective of your own mind. This will lay a foundation for you as you begin your journey to true freedom. I hope that as you continue to practice this you will consider continuing with the full MindArmorÂŽ Training Tools program ( It is a proven, step-by step methodology to true transformation that destroys the pull of lust and pornography. These training tools are designed to be completed in only 30 days. To ensure that you have the time you need to complete the training, your purchase will give you one year with access to the tools and support materials. The entire training package includes: A 60-minute interactive Internet video training that teaches you how to destroy the pull of lust and pornography The video delivered in seven individual segments for your convenience and continued learning experience Downloadable workbook and scripture verses to use with each of the seven segments of the video Daily Tune-Ups that will give an in-depth understanding of how to train your brain to do what you want it to, as well as built-in accountability Thirty exercises that develop your skills to win the battles and the war

It is something I had to learn myself. Paul says in Philippians 4:11-12 that he learned how to get along with little and how to handle abundance. It is safe to assume that at one time he did not know how to get along. . . he had to learn how. Each of us needs to learn how to be the objective observer over the lust of the flesh. I pray that you will develop the tools that you need to give you freedom from the pull of lust and pornography. - Dr. Al Larson 16 The Five Stones of Battle, Š 2014 Jericho Ventures, LLC

5 Stones to Battle the Giant of Lust and Pornography  
5 Stones to Battle the Giant of Lust and Pornography  

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