Prodigal: Only water today.

Me: Why?

Prodigal: I am fasting.

Me; Let me encourage you in your fast.

This is from the book Finding Peace for Your Heart by Stormie Omartian

God designed fasting to bring us into a deeper knowledge of Him, to release the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, and to bring us to greater health and wholeness. Fasting blesses every area of our mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional lives. It breaks down strongholds that we are not even aware the enemy has erected against us. In fact, the Bible says certain spirits can be broken only through fasting. When Jesus’ disciples asked why evil spirits din’t submit to them, He replied, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Fasting is like getting a holy oiling so the devil can’t hold on to you.

Participating in a fast soon would be a good idea. It is time to spend goo time with the Lord and also work on the spiritual.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates the body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Jennifer Van Allen

To Be Effective

Me: Sometimes we need to be reminded of what the Lord says is true.

Prodigal: Yes, there are so many different ideas of what will help.

Me: You can never go wrong with the direction the Lord will take you.

This is from the book Jonathan Edwards: Men of Faith by David J. Vaughan

Edwards understood that to be effective in the pulpit he needed to do more than simply master the mechanics of sermon preparation and the techniques of preaching. He also needed something beyond his solid knowledge of the Bible. What Edwards sought in private was communion with God. If he was going to preach effectively–with power– then he needed the touch of God. Not content to utter speculative truth alone, he strove to acquire a personal and experiential knowledge of the doctrines he proclaimed. He grasped the simple but profound fact that his inner life was interwoven with his outer work. Ministers should “earnestly seek after much of the spiritual knowledge of Christ, and that they may live in the clear views of his glory….Ministers should be much in seeking God, and conversing with him by prayer, who is the fountain of light and love.

Minister’s heart should be in the right place and pride should be forced away by understanding that God has given us everything. God is the one to be worshiped and not God’s servants.

Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: Giving in the Lord’s name brings glory to Him.

Me: Yes, it does and we can be lead by the spirit in our giving.

This is a short video devotion on Proverbs

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 6:11

And poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like and armed man. (ESV)

Jennifer Van Allen

Cleaning the Grooves

Prodigal: Sometimes it is a tough day.

Me: How so?

Prodigal: It’s the kinda day that my britches are gettin’ caught on my own pitchfork.

Me: I know those kinda days.

This is from the book Voices of the Faithful by Beth Moore

My dining room table has a small, decorative groove that circles the entire table. It looks nice, but just as with all small ruts, it collects crumbs that fall in the groove. Sometimes, when I have company, I will put a tablecloth on the table. This keeps the crumbs from getting into the groove and covers any crumbs that I didn’t clean before. Sometimes, though, I will use a lacy tablecloth that has small openings, and sure enough, crumbs get through to the groove until I decide to clean again.

For my regular cleanings, I wipe off the table, wash it and polish it. Sometimes, though, I look closely and decide that it’s time for the scrub brush to really dig deep into the groove.

Thinking about this table, I can easily make a parallel to my own life. Some sins I will instantly recognize that I need to confess and repent from. Sometimes my armor is solid, and my spirit is protected against sin and temptation. However, at times my armor has tiny openings that let sin through. These crumbs may not be overt sin but rather a general acceptance of worldly ways, without questioning them in light of God’s Word and God’s values. That’s when God tells me that it’s time for me to look at the groove in my life in order to scrub away the sin. The days with the scrub brush may be rough, but afterward, I feel clean.

Betty, Central and Eastern Europe

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean.” John 13:8b

The Heart of Prayer

Me: About to start your day?

Prodigal: Yes, but I am going to pray before I start my day.

Me: That is a great way to start!

This is from the book With Christ in the Garden by Lynn James Radcliffe

Here is the heart of prayer as petition and intercession. We do not assert our wills and our desires and expect God to give just what our limited intelligence thinks is best at the moment. We rather worship and commune with God so sincerely that we are lifted to the place where we sense His Presence and are guided to His will. Then marvelously we are aware that we have touched the outskirts of His power and, by His mighty grace, become the contact point through which His will can be released into the world.

Your Holy word has spoke truth for ages, and it also has changed lives. The word we read today is used for battle but also is used to bring you peace. This word must be the focus and with it, we will in turn do the Lord’s work.

Psalms 118:24

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Me: Thanks for help with the sandwhiching part.

Prodigal: No problem, we should help to serve others.

Me: That is true.

This is a short video devotional on Proverbs 6:10

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 6:10

A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep– (NKJV)

Jennifer Van Allen

None Have Proved it False

Me: That fruit looks good but it is fake.

Prodigal: Yes, I would like the real thing right now.

Me: Well, I can give you something that is very real.

This is from the book Jonathan Edwards: Men of Faith by David J. Vaughan

90. Christian Religion: None Have Proved it False.

It is a convincing argument for the truth of the Christian religion, and that it stands upon a most sure basis, that none have ever yet been able to prove it false, though there have been many men of all sorts, many fine wits and men of great learning, that have spent themselves and ransacked the world for arguments against it, and this for many ages.

We want something that is real and that will last. Look to Jesus. Nothing is more real or long lasting than that.

Psalm 23:1

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Jennifer Van Allen

Our Friendship

Me: You been sitting for a spell?

Prodigal: A little, but I was waiting on a good story.

Me: Maybe this will fill your bucket.

This is from the book Small Miracles for Women by Yitta Halberstam & Judith Leventhal

Our friendship began with Joni’ penpal ad in a monthly magazine. When I answered that ad several years ago, I never could have imagined the journey I was setting out upon! My first letter to her, one of introduction, went unanswered for three months. I’d long since forgotten writing it when her response finally arrived.

In spite of that slow start, we soon discovered much in common–a shared love of writing and music and gardening and needlework–but in many ways our lives were vastly different. She was 33 and recovering from a second abusive marriage and divorce; I was 10 years older and had been married since I was a teenager to the love of my life. Joni had routinely endured abuse I could scarcely imagine. She did not believe in God; I had a lifelong faith which, while shaky at times, had a firm foundation.

Our friendship flourished by way of the inky trail. We exchanged recipes and cross stitch patterns and garden seeds. Our lives became happily entwined as our frequent letters traveled across the many miles between us. The friendship filled a need in both of us for that special relationship neither of us was fortunate enough to have with our biological sisters. She poured out her heart to me, as though the simple act of telling me the horrors of her life would somehow cleanse her soul and put her shattered hopes and dreams back together again. I listened and prayed and tried my best to help her find the peace she was so desperately searching for in her life. The long letters soon were interspersed with equally lengthy phone calls. We laughed and cried together, and though a thousand miles separated us, we became sisters of the heart.

In the summer of 1996, Joni’s world once again came crashing down around her as a relationship she was involved in abruptly ended. She became suicidal and many times in the wee hours of the mornings to follow, I found myself on the phone with her, reassuring my precious friend that she was loved and that her life could again be worth living. My insistence that she seek professional help fell on deaf ears. It seemed as though there was little I could do a I beseeched God to show me a way to help her.

One day I was walking through the mall with Joni very much on my mind. I wandered into a card shop, where my attention was immediately drawn to a music box on a shelf among other music boxes. It was a small box with a short poem of friendship in its lid. As I opened it, my mind was filled with good memories as it played “You are my Sunshine,” a song I’d often sung to my children in their childhood years. I listened to the melody and then closed the lid and continued on my way. As I once again resumed my shopping, I felt a gentle touch of an unseen hand on my shoulder guiding me back to the shop and an urgent need to send that music box to Joni. I bought it and mailed it to her the following day.

Three days passed before I answered my phone to find Joni there crying. She managed, between her tears, to explain to me that she had decided to end her life and had made a list of 10 things she needed to do first. One item on that list was to hear the song “You are my Sunshine” one last time. It was a song she’d loved as a child and it brought back happy memories of those days. Having it come to her as it did reminded her of the love of her faraway friend and prompted her to add one more thing to her list–she wanted to come meet me.

Two very long days later, Joni arrived on my doorstep. What a joy it was to finally meet this friend I’d come to love so dearly. We talked and cried and laughed a lot in the next five days and through the miracle of our friendship, she discovered a desire to live again. As for me, my faith in God was strengthened as I watched in amazement the way He used a simple childhood song in a music box sent to a friend. I learned never to doubt the stirrings of a small still voice or the touch of an angel’s hand.

God truly does work in mysterious ways, or perhaps His answers to His children’s heartfelt prayers are not so mysterious at all.

Matthew 5:23-24

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the alter and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Me: I am busy as a bee.

Prodigal: You still have time to share.

Me: Always have time to share.

This is a short video devotion on proverbs

click here to watch the devotion

Proverbs 6:9

How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?

Jennifer Van Allen

Courageous Leaders

Me: Leading can be difficult.

Prodigal: Yes, and sometimes it is not popular.

This is from the book Spiritual Leadership by J.Oswald Sanders

Courageous leaders face unpleasant and even devastating situations with equanimity, then act firmly to bring good from trouble, even if their action is unpopular. Leadership always faces natural human inertia and opposition. But courage follows through with a task until it is done.

People expect leaders to be calm and courageous during a crisis. While others lose their heads, leaders stay the course. Leaders strengthen followers in the middle of discouraging setbacks and shattering reverses.

To stay the course remember that the Lord is the course. He has prepared you and you can trust Him. He is the way the life and the truth. The Lord is not surprised and will be with you every step of the way!

John 8:32

and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Jennifer Van Allen