Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here! - Robert

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fun Moment - Quadruplet Babies Laughing

If this doesn't bring joy to your heart, I don't know what would. These babies are precious.

 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Writers' Moment: Write a Memorable Devotion in Three Steps


Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11-12 (ESV)

Devotionals may be short but pack a message and inspiration into very few words. Many times, I have people ask how I come up with the ideas for my devotionals. Most often, I say that the key is to be sensitive – to the Holy Spirit when He speaks to you with an idea, to the circumstances surrounding you where you'll find inspiration, and to the people you interact with or listen to who may motivate or inspire you to share a message.

Have you read a devotional first thing in the morning that stayed with you all day? How do you affect your readers?
  • 1. First and foremost, ask, "Is my writing in line with Scripture?"
Many times, God will give you a message as you're reading and meditating on His Word. Even if God gives you an idea first, your next step is to research the Bible to make sure your message is biblically sound.
  • 2. "Is my message relevant?" 
Are you writing to moms? Dads? Grads? Grandparents? Children? The list goes on and on. With so few words, you must focus on your audience with precision addressing their needs and concerns.
  • 3. "How's my summation?"  
A devotion is so short that you have to conclude with a punch - a challenge, a question, an encouraging word, a prayer. What do you want your reader to remember?

I could go on and on about the subject, but I'm giving advice about writing with brevity. I'll simply say – Ask the Holy Spirit to help you share the message God wants you to share today. Read your Word. Pray. Listen. Be sensitive. Write.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Devotion: Which Path Have You Chosen?



Verse of the Day: Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

Have you ever been waiting in line to check out at some place like Sam's Club and a new register opens? Whoosh! The people in the other lines flock to the new one hoping to get checked out faster. After a few seconds, most disperse and end up at the back of the lines they were in originally. I've done it myself -- and oh, is it exasperating! 

It's easy to follow the crowd, isn't it? We've all done it. Have you ever done something really goofy just because some of your friends coaxed you into it? Again - I've done it myself. 

When it comes to standing strong in your walk with Jesus, sometimes you have to go against the grain, stand out against the crowd, and dare to be different. If the gate to destruction is wide, then that would be the easier path. Our natural tendency is to take the easy way, but Jesus never said it would be easy. He said, "Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also" (John 15:20). 

I don't want to be led down a path of destruction and I'm sure you don't either. I'm always struck by the fact that the Jesus said that those who find their way to heaven will be few. I want to be a part of that number, don't you? 

Prayer: Lord, I call on You for strength as I journey down this road of life. Thank you for that narrow path that lead to life everlasting. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Devotion: Let's Go to Church!


Verse of the Day: Hebrews 13:15 - By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.

How about this for a change? Instead of thinking, "Oh, man, I SHOULD go to church today..." why not flip that around to "I GET to go to church today!" It's a privilege and a blessing to get to be with like-minded believers, worship God. get re-charged, and come away REVIVED.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that I can worship You any place, any time, but today, I make the choice to be with brothers and sisters to praise You as a member of the Body of Christ. Bless this day and Your Church. We honor You. In Jesus' precious, sweet, holy Name I pray. Amen. 


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Poetry: For Mother's Day



I wrote a poem called Mom's Retreat and I'm certain I'm not the only mother who's ever escaped to this special place. To read it on CWAHM.com, click HERE and leave a comment there or here on this blog. Thanks!
Happy Mother's Day. - Donna

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Devotion: Born to Die

The other night I heard the song by Steppenwolf, Born to Be Wild. It brought back memories of Junior High and High School - that song had legs! When it came on the radio, my friends and I turned the volume up, and da-da-da'd through the verses, and on the chorus belted out, "Born to be wi-l-d," and played air guitar or in my case, drums. Oh, were we wild.

Born to be wild. Born to -- you fill in the blank. Sometimes we watch sports and think someone like Michael Jordan was born to play basketball. As a wee child, Julie Andrews opened her mouth, and a voice with a four-octave range flowed forth. She was born to sing.

During this season, I've reflected on Jesus Christ's mission. He taught like no other. But men and women have been anointed to teach. He healed the sick, yet gave the same power to the disciples. "He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness (Matthew 10:1 niv)."

Jesus performed miracles. We read in Acts that God did extraordinary miracles through Paul.

Jesus taught, healed the sick, and performed miracles, but He was born for something much greater. He was born to die.

Mary, Joseph, the disciples, Paul. None could perform a task He alone came to earth to accomplish. I sing a song called, Mary, Did You Know. The baby Mary delivered would deliver her - and us. His blood alone atones for sin. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

As an eight-year old girl, I stood up front in church one morning, and sang a song a capella. I don't even remember the song, but I do remember the grownups hovering around me after church. "Oh, honey, you were born to sing!" "Donna, you must use your talent for the Lord." And I did for several years.

Then life - banking and babies, housework and hum-drum, overcame my song. I threw myself into my mission of motherhood. My mom made me proud by saying I was born to be a mom.

Now I write. I love it. I can't imagine not writing now. Was I born to write? To sing? To be a mother? In whatever area of ministry He leads, I pray I accomplish my mission.

One thing I know - if I shed every drop of blood in my body, I could not atone for even one person's sin. I thank Jesus Christ that He fulfilled His purpose. During the Christmas holidays, I feel a twinge of sadness because even though we celebrate His birth, I know Jesus Christ was born to die.

But hallelujah, He arose to live again. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (II Corinthians 5:15 niv). And even though I will one day die, because of His sacrifice, I, too, will live again.

Let's praise Him and vow to fulfill the purpose God has for our lives - as scribes and singers, guitar players or poets, parents, grandparents - as Christians.
___________

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Fun Moment: I Know Jesus Loves Me

On an Easter Sunday, to introduce my husband's sermon, I sang the song “Redeemer” written by Nicole C. Mullins. One of the lines in the chorus says, “I know my redeemer lives.” Then my husband preached an Easter sermon entitled “I Know He Lives.” During his sermon, he spoke of the tremendous love of Christ.

So after church when a little girl about seven came running up to Don exclaiming, “I know Jesus loves me!” he thought she must have been paying attention to the sermon.

“I know, Honey! Jesus loves you.”

She grinned even wider, followed him a few more steps and said, “Pastor, I know Jesus loves me.”

Don turned around, patted her on the head and said, “Praise the Lord. He does!”

Finally, the little girl sighed in exasperation and said, “I KNOW 'Jesus Loves Me.' Don’t you want to hear me sing it?”

_______

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Between Sundays: Week Twenty-Three: Donna Shepherd

Between Sundays: Week Twenty-Three: Donna Shepherd: Is Fear Your Master? “ For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” —I...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teaching Moment: Why Jesus?

Over a century ago, there was one man who began to speak of the “virtues” of Hinduism in the United States. As the decades rolled by, more gurus came and developed huge followings. Today, interest in eastern ideas in western culture seems to be at an all time high. Is Jesus still the answer even in this climate? Find out this week on Let My People Think as Ravi Zacharias discusses his book, Why Jesus?
http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/let-my-people-think/player/why-jesus-251352.html


Inspiring Moment: More Jesus, Less Me

Monday, January 13, 2014

Devotion: Valentine's Day - Say, “I Love You” to Someone Today



“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:9

February is the month of love. A lot of people think Hallmark thought up Valentine’s Day, but few know how it really originated.

One legend says Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to another legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that he fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression still in use today.

Since America has been at war, there is a heightened awareness of the fragility of life. If you haven’t told your spouse, your children, or your loved ones you love them, why not do it today? We don’t know what tomorrow holds or even if there will be a tomorrow and of course the Lord could return at any moment for His Church.

Even if you don’t have a sweetheart, perhaps you can think of someone who could benefit from an expression of love from you. Just think – there may be someone in your life who won’t be hugged or told someone loves him or her if you don’t take the initiative.

What about your church family? What is one of the ways we know we are in the body of Christ? I John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

Lastly, but most importantly, I want to tell the Savior of my soul, the Maker of my heart and the Creator of love itself that I love Him.

Say, "I love you" to someone today!

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for all those who love me, and for the privilege of loving others. Most of all, I thank You, God, for Your love, mercy, and grace shown through Jesus Christ.

Donna J. Shepherd © 2012 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced by Crossmap or any other website without dated written permission from Donna. - Thanks!

*First posted 2-14-06

Monday, December 16, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Today's Devotional: Lines and Longing



Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! - 2 Corinthians 9:15 niv
I’m sitting in my warm, cozy home in front of my beautifully decorated Christmas tree – one of several trees scattered throughout my house. I’m afraid I go a bit overboard with the Christmas d├ęcor. The weather outside is truly frightful, as it has snowed since the wee hours of this morning. Since I work at home, I don’t have to venture out into this mess, and for that, I’m thankful.

The meteorologists started warning us about the storm headed our way yesterday morning. Every few minutes, they proclaimed the importance of being ready. They changed the forecast from ‘winter storm watch’ to ‘warning’ as the storm organized itself and seemed bent on making this area its target.

In anticipation of this storm, I power-shopped yesterday. Scowls and angry attitudes abounded. Long lines and a short amount of time to get everything done make even the most serene person ready to snap. For every “Happy Holiday” I responded with “Merry Christmas” – my own way of bringing Christ back into the celebration. But I’m still not completely ready.

Watching the news last night, the forecasters reminded me of preachers I heard as a little girl. “The Lord is coming,” they proclaimed. “You must be ready for His return!”

I’d lie in my bed at night, peering into the darkness. Would He come tonight? Was I ready? A great sense of anticipation and a good dose of fear filled my heart as I tuned my ears for a trumpet blast.

Even now, my heart beats faster when I think of the magnificence of Jesus Christ’s return. How wonderful! How amazing!



In the craziness of shopping, baking, and planning family get-togethers, I forget sometimes that not only did Jesus come as a baby, but died as a young man, and rose as my Savior. One day, He will return for His children, and whether I’m eight or eighty, I’m a child in His eyes. His child. And I’m ready when He is to go Home. I long to be with the One who loves me so.

Now don’t get me wrong – I want to stick around for a while, doing what I can to tell others of God’s love, but I’m prepared to meet Him. Are you ready, or do you cringe at the thought of where you’ll spend eternity?

As you wrap gifts, think of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. When you see the Christmas lights, associate their brightness with the Light of the World. And as you stress over being ready for the holiday, ponder whether you’re ready for the Reason for the holiday – the birth, death, resurrection, and soon-coming return of Christ our King. I hope you’ve accepted the free gift from God sent to you - the gift of His Son.

I hope the snow lets up soon, too. I still have some shopping to do.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to remember why I celebrate on the 25th of December each year. I thank You for Your love. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

*Originally posted on 12-22-04.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Scripture Moment: Be Your Best


My quote for you today: 
"Never accept acceptable. Strive for superb!" - Donna J. Shepherd

Colossians 3:23-24 -Today's New International Version (TNIV) -"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: Love Under the Bubble Wrap


Wow! I'm so honored when someone takes time to write a review and post it on Amazon. And when it says such nice things, my day is made! Here's a snippet of what Mary Busha said about Love Under the Bubble Wrap - a novelette:
I love the way Donna wove humor, disappointment, deep love, and even sarcasm into her story. Her characters are so real they seem to step right out of her story and intersect with the lives of her readers.
Thank you, Mary. I'm tickled pink you liked it.
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