Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Holy Week Inspiration: An Easter Prayer and Devotion

If we're not careful, we can surround ourselves with a lot of negative voices right now. We might have the best of intentions. We turn on the news to stay informed. We empathize with people who are struggling. We observe how things are very different—even scary—from our unique perches in the world. This active discovery is only part one, however. Part two is God's answer of hope. 

We need to bathe ourselves in light. Just like closing our eyes and tilting our face toward the sun until our eyelids warm, we need to flood our soul with the warmth of God's presence. He has an answer to our confusion, worry, and pain. "Don't stay there," he invites us. Holy Week is a timely reminder of the always-present, never-stopping hope we have in Jesus. Here are two ways to drink in God's hope this Easter—the latter includes a sweet poem to share with your kids!

An Easter Meal Prayer to Pray with Your Family 
(Read the prayer here)
"You hear us when we think no one is listening, You act when we think there is nothing more than can be done, and you shower grace upon us when we feel most unworthy. These examples communicate your unconditional love and are proof that you are alive and active today..."

Devotion: High-Flying Easter Hope
(I penned this back in January—read the devotion here)
"I like using a swing to illustrate what resurrection power looks like to my children. A swing may go low, but inevitably it comes back up. That’s the power of faith. God promises that he will never leave us in our lows, including death—we have the firm hope of coming back up. Pumping our legs is equivalent to exercising our faith muscle. We get to participate in Christ’s mystery by believing and experiencing the exhilaration of the high he offers—life in the present and life eternal..."

Stay tuned next week for more inspiration! In the meantime, watch my recent show or read inspiration to stay strong amidst the pandemic.

Monday, April 6, 2020


I hope you had a lovely Palm Sunday yesterday! My family and I read together from the Jesus Storybook Bible for my children's Sunday school. It's been such a treasure to read from Sally's classic during this time at home, as adults love it too!

I chose the winner for Glenys Nellist's precious and *timely* new release, Little Mole Finds Hope, this morning. Congratulations to K. Culp of Montana! It gives me such joy to see all of the states represented by our registrants—thank you for taking the time to register, and for your loyal patronage and bonus entries! I like to keep a running list of winning states, so now they are: Montanta, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, Arizona, Utah, and California. Several states have had repeat winners too!

Stay tuned on Wednesday here for special Holy Week inspiration. I'll be sharing my blessing to pray around your Easter table and Holy Week devotion, both through I can't wait for you to read them!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Guest Post: Glenys Nellist on Tips to Help a Child Who's Feeling Sad

Last week I aired an interview with bestselling children's book author Sally Lloyd-Jones, and this week I am delighted to welcome another bestselling author to my blog. Glenys Nellist is guest posting here again! She's back to blog about a timely topic as she launches her newest book, Little Mole Finds Hope. At the end of this post, you'll be able to register for a free copy of her book, which I will give away this week! Glenys writes:

When I picked up the pen over two years ago to write Little Mole Finds Hope, I never imagined how timely its message would be. In a world that just turned upside down for so many, we need signs of hope.

When Little Mole is feeling sad in his deep underground burrow, his wise mama knows that he needs signs of hope too. Together, they venture out, up towards the light. On the way, Mama shows Little Mole a daffodil bulb lying squashed and lifeless in the dark soil, bare branches looming above that have no signs of life, and a shriveled chrysalis hanging inside of a flowerpot. Each time when Little Mole insists that “It’s dead, Mama,” Mama invites her son to close his eyes and imagine the yellow daffodil, the leafy trees, and the beautiful butterfly that will one day emerge.

The central message of this spring-themed picture book is that hope can be found even in the darkest place. During this anxious time in our world, when our little ones might be feeling afraid or sad, you, the parent, are their primary hope-giver. Here are a few tips to help a child who is feeling sad:
  • Acknowledge how your child is feeling.
  • Ask him or her to talk about or draw his/her feelings. Listen and empathize.
  • Reassure your child that his/her sadness will not last forever.
  • Hug your child. Don’t stop until your child lets go.
  • Spend time together doing something enjoyable.

  • Teach your child gratitude. Find a way to record "things that made me smile today." Use a journal or "gratitude jar" containing slips of paper.
  • Adequate sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise all contribute towards your child’s emotional health and well-being.
  • Please download this free Activity Pack to accompany my book for more book-themed activities. Stay safe, be well, and look for HOPE!

    —Glenys Nellist, Children’s Author

    Register here for your free copy of Glenys' book. All entrants must have a US street address, no PO Boxes, for shipping purposes please. I will announce the winner on Sunday! P.S. Watch on social media this week to see how my children are spreading hope to others during this difficult time! Stay safe, everyone!

    Sunday, March 29, 2020

    Sally Lloyd-Jones Winners Announced!

    Thank you to everyone who registered to win a Sally Lloyd-Jones book bundle! There were registrants from coast to coast! The two lucky winners courtesy of the Christian publisher Zonderkidz are: L. Black of Palo Alto, CA, and A. Aguilar of North Little Rock, AR. Winners, I will be contacting you.

    The list of states with winners from this blog has grown! It now includes Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, Arizona, and California. Thank you all for your support!

    I hope you will still consider purchasing these finds yourself! I just sent several titles to my niece and nephew in Minnesota. Books are a wonderful way to make the faith invitation—they plant a seed, just like Sally mentions in our interview!

    Welcome to my new readers through the giveaway, and thank you to my loyal ones. Everyone please stay tuned for a guest post from bestselling author Glenys Nellist, who will be writing tips for helping a child who is feeling sad. What timely advice given the news! Her post is tied to her newest children's book release, Little Mole Finds Hope. You'll have another chance to win as I give away a free copy of her book this coming week!

    Monday, March 23, 2020

    New episode! Interview with Sally Lloyd-Jones

    Pinch me! In honor of Easter, I recently had the privilege of sitting down with New York Times bestselling author Sally-Lloyd Jones! Sally has written the best children's Bible on the market, the Jesus Storybook Bible, that's sold over 3 million copies and been translated into 44 languages and counting. 

    In this interview, you'll hear her talk about:

    * Her personal story, which begins in Africa
    * The unexpected road to her success
    * How her life as a little girl informs what she does today (including touring with Amy Grant!)
    * Tips for connecting with children
    * How to dispel coronavirus fears

    Plus, this episode includes TWO special treats:

    * Sally reads an excerpt of her Jesus Storybook Bible (Gather your children!)
    * I announce a giveaway of five of Sally's books for two lucky viewers, courtesy of the Christian publisher Zonderkidz! See the books up for grabs below—one is a set of two books. 

    You can register here or through the form on my website for the giveaway. I will announce the two winners on Sunday on my website and through social media. Don't forget to take advantage of the bonus entries! All entrants must be US residents with a street address, no PO boxes, for shipping purposes please.

    Also, next week I have another special treat! I will be hosting bestselling author Glenys Nellist as she introduces her newest treasure, Little Mole Finds Hope! She will share expert tips on helping a child who is feeling sad with us. This is a timely topic from a repeat guest on my blog!

    Want to watch more? Check out my episodes with other New York Times bestselling parenting authors: I interview Dr. Leonard Sax on modern parenting issues and boys' school and social problems, and Jessica Lahey on the importance of allowing our children to fail.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    What Is the Christian Response to the Coronavirus?

    What Is the Christian Response to the Coronavirus? 

    The news is swirling with accounts concerning the coronavirus. So many are sick, some have died, and all are impacted by the resultant events in their local communities. God promises to be a safe refuge for us in times of trouble. Psalm 46 begins, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” The Lord is our strength who will never abandon us. We may not understand why things happen, but we can always trust that God will sustain us. The following are seven ways that we can respond to the coronavirus with confidence:

    1. Don’t Be Afraid

    It’s no mistake that Jesus says this phrase and its derivatives more than anything else in all of scripture (Mark 4:39–40, for instance). We as Christians are not to live in fear, regardless of our circumstances. The coronavirus reminds us that there are indeed some things beyond our control. It’s an invitation to remember that our times are in God’s hands—that hasn’t changed. Further, when we respond with fear and panic, the quality of our decision-making suffers right when we need clear-headedness the most.

    2. Take Preventative Measures

    It can be tempting to totally ignore a problem before it flares on the one hand, or become completely paralyzed with worry once it does on the other hand. Faith provides us with a third option, however: To actively approach a challenge by responsibly doing all that we can while confidently leaving the rest to God. The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30) reminds us to mine the resources that God has given us, which includes a sound mind in times of trouble. We can remain proactive by staying informedplanning ahead, and acting wisely.

    3. Be a Leader

    Curbing the spread to protect those who are more vulnerable in the population will involve some self-sacrifice. It demonstrates patience to postpone non-necessary travel or planned mass gatherings until the risk of infection has passed. It takes courage to get tested if you think you are sick. It shows responsibility to self-quarantine if you are positive. When we put others first, we reflect the love of Jesus in a world that is trembling (John 15:12). 

    Click here to read the conclusion of the article. 
    Point #4 is my favorite!

    Make sure that you didn't miss my prayer for the coronavirus earlier this week! Also, stay tuned for an episode of my show to watch on demand. I sat down with New York Times bestselling author Sally Lloyd–Jones and we talked children, her Jesus Storybook Bible, and even the coronavirus! A giveaway of a bundle of books for TWO lucky viewers will accompany the show release. I can't wait for you to watch!

    TODAY Video Clip