In a world of get-rich-quick schemes and scams, it’s refreshing to read some common sense about money.
Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover walked me, a skeptic, step by step, from reluctant reader to Dave Ramsay fan. It’s easy to see how so many people have come to sing Dave’s praises. His method for financial freedom is simple, but it isn’t easy. Each chapter contains testimonies from those who have used the system and benefitted from it.
The “makeover” includes these steps, which I’ve paraphrased:
When Jesus traveled the hills of Galilee in the early days of His ministry, He had one primary message: “Repent, for the King of Heaven is at hand.” The Sermon on the Mount provided His unequivocal standard for entering the kingdom He offered: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). He then showed Himself as the only means of entry (7:13-14).
Tucked away in that sermon is a model prayer of humility and dependence that comes in the context of trusting God to meet true needs. The prayer stands as a complete opposite of the showy prayers of the scribes and Pharisees.
Mary DeMuth takes the prayer a step further by writing on the topic of each phrase of Jesus’ prayer and applying the principles of these topics to relationships—particularly to ones that have hurt us.
The Wall Around Your Heart speaks to the separation we’ve all encountered and the walls we have erected around our hearts to protect us from the pain of people. Although the Lord’s Prayer didn’t have relational pain as its primary purpose, the prayer covers areas of need in our lives that certainly apply to relationships. In fact, the part of the prayer that asks our Father for forgiveness is one that Jesus elaborates on immediately after the prayer (5:14-15). The Lord’s Prayer usually causes us to zero in on the forgiveness element of dealing with others, but there is more to the Lord’s Prayer than forgiveness—though that’s a great takeaway.
Each phrase is coupled with a relational principle to apply. Can you guess which part of the Lord’s Prayer goes with what principle?
- Pray first
- Live in Your Father’s Affection
- Allow God to be God
- Walk in the Great Right Now
- Respond Like Jesus
- Let Heaven Frame Your Relationships
- Ask Jesus for Help
- Be Repentant
- Defy Bitterness
- Dare to Engage Anyway
- Be Fully Alive
DeMuth points us to understand and embrace God’s love for us so that we can reach out and love others. We can’t love from an empty place. We give others what God has given us.
My favorite quote from the book:
Everything that hurts us on earth has the potential, when we let God put His hands in the conflict, to bless the world. In short, we hurt, and God heals, which makes us an agent of healing. (p. 116)
Mary is a gifted writer. Her new book describes how God heals the pain in our relationships through the very community that caused it.
When I first picked up this book, I assumed it would be a lighthearted look at rejection. (Though, I’m not sure how.) It wasn’t.
Instead, Downside Up connected with the ugly reality we face in relationships. In some way, rejection has cut us all—leaving scars of all sizes—and some of us still bleed every day in our work, marriages, friends, churches, and even written correspondence.
Sometimes others’ rejection of us is intentional, but occasionally, it also represents our own inflated sensitivity. Regardless, the rejection we feel is real. By the way, I guess I could feel rejected as a man that the book seems to address women primarily (as does the promo video above), but there’s a lot here for men too.
Tracey Mitchell’s book does more than examine rejection from these various avenues of entry. Each chapter concludes with elements that I found the most helpful parts of the book:
- Chapter Principles—if you read nothing but these, you’d get a good, general sense of the chapter’s contents as well as some great takeaways for application and renewing the mind against the raw feelings that rejection often brings. Super, super stuff here. These little nuggets are the best part of the book.
- Words of Wisdom—offers a simple Bible verse that relates to the chapter’s theme. Good for memorization and even better for meditation.
- Power Quote—a quote from various individuals that says in a few words something worth thinking about.
- Plan of Action—offers a direct application to do what the book’s title says we should do with rejection: turn it upside-down.
My opinion was turned upside down after I read Downside Up.
If rejection is something that’s eating you, you’ll find encouragement here.
By the way, I received this book from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. The review is my honest opinion. The FTC requires I tell you. See 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This colorful book has more than great photographs. It carries with it inspiration for its reader.
Following the stories of how 21 very different people chose to step out beyond mediocrity and make their mark, Make Your Mark reveals that normal people can be used by God to make a difference. From well-known individuals like Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and Lecrae to lesser-knowns like Katie Davis and Gary Haugen, the believable takeaway from this softcover inspiration is that no matter who you are, you can make a difference.
The foreword by Jeremy Cowart says it well:
“This isn’t a book to celebrate the best in others as much as it is a book meant to call out the best in you. . . . It doesn’t matter who you are, how big your audience or your bank account, you can make a mark.”
Cowart is a photographer who captured each person’s portrait with him or her holding a frame of the “mark” they have made—and are making.
Stories of extreme sacrifice and love surface page after page. In between each mini-biography is woven the entire text from the Book of Mark—a nice touch. Especially since the key verse for the gospel mirrors the lives of those featured in What’s Your Mark?
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
The book urges readers to visit www.shareyourmark.com and leave how they are leaving their mark.
For me, the book’s purpose seems to have helped me take the first step. After reading the little volume, I prayed: “God, how would you have me make a mark for your glory in my life?”
You can read the book in one sitting, but I doubt you’ll be the same if you do.