Time to Pick a Blessing!

Linda Evans Shepherd

What if you could pick a blessing from God?

You can.

The best way to pick a blessing is to dig into His word for treasure.   As you do, God will highlight promises for you to hide in your heart.

It’s said there are over 7000 promises in the word.  The Lord may have one particular promise, or even several promises that He wants you to hang on to; living words that will come to fruition.

Some words will ground you. Some words will inspire you and give you the courage to stand against storms and other obstacles.  While other words will bless you as they operate as an anointing you can live into.

The word I lived into last year was this:

But in that coming day
no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice
raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;
their vindication will come from me.
I, the Lord, have spoken!” Isaiah 54:17 (NLT)

Looking back, I am happy to say that the word I received remained faithful. I was able to stand in this word against many trials like legal wranglings, tornadic storms rotating over my home and other close calls against my life and the lives of my children. I was able to press through stormy ministry voyages and impossible deadlines and experience more victory than I ever thought possible. Why? Because at every turn, the enemy’s weapon, though set to strike, did not succeed in stopping me from my mission to thrive, accomplish my purposes, and enjoy God’s presence!

So what scripture should you pick to live into? I’ll share a promise that I know applies to you right now, but know this; God wants you to pick up the word and dig into it yourself. He wants you to do this because He loves spending time with you. He wants to quicken the words you read so that they become like a double-edged sword you can wield. He wants to take delight in your discovering, through His Spirit, those verses He meant for you.

So you have your assignment. And to help you get into the mood to spend some time in the word, here’s the ‘starter’ verse I promised you. When you read it, mull it over, pay attention to its nuances, not in fear, but in joy, for it’s a wonderful promise from Jesus himself:

“And I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20

Yes! Jesus is going into the future with you. How wonderful is that?

A Colorado Flood Report; What to Pray When the Floods Come

photo1From the heart of the Colorado flood zone  –

One of my dear friends, who lost her home two years ago in the Boulder fire, now has her new house’s basement underwater near Left Hand Creek.  She jokes, “Last week I told the Lord how lovely it would be to have more water in the creek, and how nice it would be if we could remodel our basement.  I should have asked for a ‘little’ more water, with ‘little’ being the operative word.  So since I didn’t specify the amount of water I was praying for, I guess you could say this whole flood thing is my fault.”

Of course Cindi was only kidding, but her words point to an interesting question;  Just who is at fault?

Colorado Flood Report

Well, in case you haven’t heard, my beloved state of Colorado has endured what they are now calling the 5000 year flood and I’m here to tell you it’s a mess!  In my town alone, 6000 homes were evacuated due to the rising river which divided the town in half.  At one point, my end of town stood as an island surrounded by a moat of water.  With over 50 state bridges damaged or destroyed, for many, myself included, there was no place to go but to our knees in prayer.

What was God thinking to deluge a perfectly good state with such a devastating flood?  After all, our cities are often honored as the number one place to live, for having more educated adults than any other locale, and for ranking tops in both fitness and health.  The towns and foothills of Colorado are known for their beauty, mountain sunsets and wonderful mountain living.  So why go and ruin a perfectly good thing?

And why start the drowning of the state on 9/11?

A coincidence?  I don’t think so.

My opinion?

For just as God called out to our nation on 9/11, God has been calling out to the individual states; including Colorado. God first called out to Colorado  in the school shootings, then in the fires, the theater shooting and now in a flood that served up a front range wide ‘Katrina,’ stranding people, destroying roads, and flooding homes.

Our response?

Many of my neighbors are refusing to take God’s call, saying, “My my, look what nature, or global warming, global cooling, Obama, the Republicans or even the Bush administration did to destroy our lovely state!”

This bunch has not even considered that God is trying to get their attention, especially as they feel so good about themselves.  In fact, as if in defiance of God, they say, “See why we are so special?  We are Colorado proud.  We are Colorado strong.  We will rebuild.”

I have heard very few people respond, “Yes, Lord, I am listening,” which is actually the correct response; a response that we all need to pray no matter which state we are in.

And to clarify this response, let’s take a look at an ancient call to prayer found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

I’m going to paraphrase this scripture so we can pray it together.  Care to join me?

Dear Lord,

We choose to humble ourselves before you, agreeing that you alone are God and that we are your people.  Lord, we turn from seeking our way to seeking your face.  We turn from our wicked ways, including the sins described in Galatians 5:19-21 which include:

“Sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.”

We turn from these sins, even if it means being kind to people who hurt us, turning off sexy shows, yielding our will to your will when it comes to our own ambition, and giving up our envy for the things others have, staying away from wild parties, keeping our pants zipped outside our marriage bed, to stop dabbling in the occult or occultic entertainment, passing up a second, third and fourth helping, staying sober and not getting high, to quit worshipping ourselves, our wants or desires, to stop fighting with others or exploding our anger all over our friends and family, and even turning off TV shows that celebrate and glorify death and murder.

Help me to avoid these sins, as I pray and seek your face.  I pray this because you want to walk with me and to heal my land and because I want to walk with you.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Anyway, friends, I’m not writing this to try to offend, I’m writing this because God loves you so much that he wants to walk with you.  He wants you to hear his voice, and to worship him.  I am writing this so you will join me in reaching out to God on a very personal level.  For you see, there is hope.  There is hope that he will hear us and heal our land.

If you would like to find out  more about how to know God on a deeper level, answer the questions at:  www.GodTest.com.

Praying for all of you from waterlogged Longmont, Colorado.

GOT TO PRAY with Linda Evans Shepherd

DSC_4997_pp2

Linda Evans Shepherd         Prayer Author and Speaker

Your Prayer Toolbox Cover 3Welcome to Got to Pray!

Have you ever tried to pray but felt disconnected?

Then I’ve got great news; not only can you connect to God through prayer, you can do so because He wants a deeper relationship with you.  This means you can learn secrets to help you transform your life with the power of prayer.

Also, be sure and sign up for my list to get your free Prayer Toolbox filled with helps like dynamic prayers to pray over yourself and your loved ones, transforming prayers to pray over your church, and prayer of protection based on Psalm 91 as well as prayers to set you free.

With love,  Linda Evans Shepherd

Prayer Key to Trusting the Lord

keyIn my quiet time this morning, I spent some time waiting on God – listening for His voice – and as I listened, I wrote down these words:

I am with you — by your side, keeping you company. I’m watching and waiting for you to rejoice with Me and Me alone for I am in all things, good and difficult. Rejoicing is the key because rejoicing releases trust and that is where your life in Me needs work – trusting in Me in all things. So, trust Me. Rejoice! Stop being afraid. Rejoice! I say again rejoice!

As I thought about His words to me, I considered Philippians 4:4 which says, “Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!” (Amp)

Prayer Key to Trusting the Lord

Perhaps this verse it’s more than an invitation to praise God, it’s a command because it’s a gateway to going deeper in our ability to fully trust Him.

51jP4zQFAZL._SL500_AA240_[1]How convicted I was as I begin to recognize that I did have trust issues with God, starting with my prayer that my son, a new college graduate, would get that all important first job.  What if instead of fretting prayers like “Lord, it’s been a couple of months since Jim’s graduation, when are you going to provide the job he’s seeking?  Please let something break open soon.”  I prayed rejoicing prayers of trust like, “Lord, I know you have the perfect job and perfect timing for my son’s start date.  I’m rejoicing that you are giving him some space to enrich his life with patience during the waiting.  Help him to grow in you in this time.  I’m excited for what You are doing in his life. I know Jim’s new job is on the way. I am rejoicing in you! Thank you!”

This second prayer feels so much better, and as I pray it, it helps me to trust more deeply in God and to delight in Him.  It keeps my mind on the goodness of God instead of the fears behind my worries.

I think C.S. Lewis understood this concept when he wrote,   “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” ~ C. S. Lewis

And so it is.  Let’s rejoice in the Lord today.

UPDATE to article:  Praising God that my son got his dream job!  How wonderful it is to step away from fear and step toward God as we learn to trust him with all our heart.

Verse to contemplate: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (Amp)

Recommended Reading: When You Don’t Know What to Pray, How to Talk to God About Anything.

Why not sing along with little Sabrina – This is the Day that the Lord has Made…

How to Pray Safety Over Your Kids

Linda Evans Shepherd

beautiful blond kid blow dandelion outdoorHow to Pray Safety Over Your Kids

Recently, I was asked if there was anything more we as parents could do to protect our kids from the kind of senseless tragedies like drive by shootings or the evil that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

In times like this it’s good to remember that we do have a powerful weapon; we can pray!  In fact, I’d like to share a couple of ideas of how you can daily pray protection over your kids.

  1.  Bless them!  – I never sent my then young son to school before putting my hand on his head and giving him a blessing.  This blessing prayer became so important to Jim that If I forgot to pray it, he’d grab my hand and place it on his head and say, “I can’t go to school until you bless me Mom!”

But even with all the blessings I prayed for Jim, his school life was not without challenges. However, not only did he get through each of these challenges, I found that the challenges made him stronger and helped him transform into the wonderful young man he is today.  I thank God for getting him through and count my prayers as the guardrails he needed to help not only keep him safe, but help keep him on the right track.

Let me suggest you follow my example. So daily, before you send your child into the world, place your hand on his or her head and bless your child this with a prayer like the following: 

Dear Lord,

I bless my child with your favor, love, and peace.  I ask that you would shield and protect (name) from evil and danger.  Let (name) know that your presence is with them and they are not alone. 

In Jesus’s name,

Amen

2.       Pray for them throughout the day – When your thoughts turn to your children during the course of your day, take that as a reminder to pray quick prayers  like: ‘Dear Lord, be with little Annie.  Give her courage on the playground today,’  ‘Help Jon with his spelling test,’  or ‘Be with Emily, right now, protect her and keep her safe.’

The good news is that sometimes, when God puts our children on our heart, it’s a call to pray for them.  And, when God himself calls us to pray, you should  know that he is already ready to answer our requests.  However, if the call to pray for your child is heavy, do not hesitate to pray until you feel God’s peace.

The good news is that our God is bigger than evil, God is even bigger than a tragedy such as the death of a child. We know this because Jesus himself conquered both sin and death. Because of his victory, we know that the children who leave us too soon will always be safe in the eternal presence of God’s love and care.

But for now,  we as parents are called to pray for our children as well as those left behind in the wake of the Sandy Hook and other senseless tragedies.  It’s the one thing we can do that will truly make a difference.