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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Getting it Done

Accomplishing family devotions is difficult, particularly when evening activities pull family members in different directions. Rather than throwing in the towel, relax. Carry on with the family members that are home. Determine not to be defeated if you can only manage three nights a week. Discussing the Bible together is a habit worth forming.

Remember: even if your actual devotional attempt is chaotic, with restless kids who seem to be distracted,  just by doing it you are teaching your kids a powerful lesson. God's Word is important. It matters to life just as it was written. We might need to teach our kids and help them see how Scripture relates to their life, but God's Word doesn't need to be re-written or re-packaged to catch their attention.

If you're working your way through Lord, Have Mercy this Lenten season, and your Friday night was crazy--don't worry about it. Do not feel behind.  Go ahead and study the devotion for Saturday today and be blessed by God's Word. Whatever days you need to skip are there waiting for you to do together after Easter.

Today you'll read the Beatitudes and discuss with your family what it means to be poor in spirit and to hunger and thirst for righteousness. With what are you trying to satisfy yourself? Help your kids think deeply and get past the obvious "Sunday school" answer as you lead them through today's discussion.

Don't have Lord, Have Mercy yet? Download it here or order a paperback here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Poured Out on Ash Wednesday

Being a mother is studying in the school of self-denial. Thankfully, my Teacher has a lot of mercy and forgiveness for me. I need it.

Potty-training might be the most difficult course in my school of self-denial. I'm in my fifth rotation and hoping for a better grade this time around. I've never started potty-training before the second birthday before, but Lydia and I are trying to get a jump on it. One week in, it is looking pretty optimistic.

But I've been sitting on the floor in front of Lydia singing "I'm a Little Teapot," "Itsy-Bitsy Spider," "If You're Happy and You Know It," and "Here's a Ball For Baby" again and again and again.

Lydia likes to go potty just to watch me sing. She sits on her little potty chair and grins, "Do it 'gin, Mommy! Bitsy 'pider!"

I bounce back and forth between this and more serious subjects, like long division and post-Civil War Reconstruction, and squeeze in some time to listen to Tobias sound out three-letter words.  It's not a bad life, but after the tenth round of "Bitsy 'pider" or "Teapot" (well, even after the second round) I'm wishing I could be doing other things.

But as I sing, "Here is my handle," with a hand on my hip, and "Here is my spout," with my other arm outstretched, and lean into "When I get all steamed up, I just SHOUT! Tip me over and pour me out!" I think of Jesus, who poured out His blood for me.

And I realize that singing "I'm a Little Teapot" with my sweet daughter for the umpteenth time while she learns to go potty--even as other things that seem more pressing, more important, more valuable go undone--isn't even close to being poured out like a drink offering, as Paul said in Philippians 2:14-18:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
I want to say to Lydia, and each of my children, "Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith..." and yet here I am grumbling about potty-training, deceiving myself that it is a genuine trial.

Ash Wednesday is a day set aside to grieve for sin. May we grieve over our sin so that we might glory in God's mercy.

Lord, have mercy;
Christ, have mercy;
Lord, have mercy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lord, Have Mercy Around the Web

Win a free download of Lord, Have Mercy at Amy's The Finer Things in Life. Just leave a comment on her post before Tuesday at midnight to enter the drawing. Winners will receive their free copy on Ash Wednesday.

Over at Equip Academy, Sharon has a guest post by her husband, Pastor Jeff,  reviewing Lord, Have Mercy. Jeff and Sharon have been using Lord, Have Mercy in their family devotions and Jeff shares what it has been like for them.

Cathy posts about Lord, Have Mercy on her blog, Women Bible Life.

Chris graciously recommends trying Lord, Have Mercy on her blog Finnegan Follies.

Here are some other blogs who have posted about Lord, Have Mercy (that I linked to on Friday):

Ordo Amoris: Preparing for Easter? Kindle Devotional
A Quotidian Life: Devoted to the Word
Prone to Wander: preparing for Easter
The Key to the Door: Getting Ready for Easter

Did I miss yours? If you post about Lord, Have Mercy be sure to let me know!

(Clarification: I am not Amy of Amy's The Finer Things in Life.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Will You Like Lord, Have Mercy?

Like it on Facebook, that is?

Take a minute to "like" the Lord, Have Mercy: Discovering Jesus in the Days Before Lent  Facebook page, where I'll be posting devotional and encouraging tips for your family during Lent.

Lord, Have Mercy: Discovering Jesus in the Days Before Easter: A Family Devotional Guide for Lent is now available in paperback at, so if e-books aren't your thing, you're all set.

Here are some excellent blogs with recent posts about Lord, Have Mercy:

Ordo Amoris: Preparing for Easter? Kindle Devotional
A Quotidian Life: Devoted to the Word
Prone to Wander: preparing for Easter

In The Key to the Door: Getting Ready for Easter, my blogging friend Meredith explains how flexible Lord, Have Mercy can be for your family. I share Meredith's desire to give Easter as much spiritual attention in my home and traditions as Christmas, and I pray that Lord, Have Mercy will help all of us do that.

If you blog about Lord, Have Mercy, let me know so that I can post links to your blog!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Breakfast with the President

We began our school day this morning by listening to Eric Metaxas speak at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington (held last Thursday, Feb. 2). You must, must, must watch this speech.

When you've met Jesus, nothing is ever the same again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Family Devotions

From the Introduction of Lord, Have Mercy: Discovering Jesus in the Days Before Easter, a Family Devotional Guide for Lent, my new e-book:
My prayer is that this book of family devotions will help your family prepare for a glorious Easter and help you succeed in bringing your family together in the Word. Rather than observing Lent as a set of rules and regulations, let’s make it a time to fix our eyes on Jesus. Lent should be Christ-centered, not me-centered. What a wonderful opportunity Lent gives us to focus on Jesus and His earthly ministry and the meaning of the Gospel.

It isn’t easy to maintain a family devotional habit. Evening activities rush us, leaving little time to gather. Differences in the ages of our children make it difficult to keep everyone engaged in what we are reading. Inevitably, at least one of the kids tunes out. Worst of all, sometimes our kids complain about our attempts to have devotions. Devotions are a time devoted to worship, Scripture, and prayer. These things are not always entertaining, and some kids lose patience and complain of boredom. For parents who yearn for their kids to know and love God, this is crushing. May this devotional help you overcome these challenges.

Each week’s devotions cover a different aspect of Christ’s ministry. While you will be blessed by God’s Word if you can do it daily, you won’t miss the main point of the week if you miss a day or two. If you can’t complete the day’s devotion, do as much as you can in the time that you have, shortening discussion by reading provided answers aloud. We often have our devotional time after our evening meal. Sometimes we take 15 minutes, sometimes 30.

Lord, Have Mercy: Discovering Jesus in the Days Before Easter, a Family Devotional Guide for Lent is available now for Kindle from Remember that even if you don't have a Kindle, you may read Kindle books on your phone's free Kindle app or online through Amazon.
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