Where is Your Attention

Prodigal: Sometimes you are more stubborn than a two-headed mule.

Me: Yes, that is why the Lord has to tell me twice sometimes.

There was a knock on the door. I opened the door to the air conditioner repair man. I knew he was coming. A part had to be ordered, and I had taken the day off so I could be here during the project. It would take about 4 hours so I had planned a couple of projects to work on at home while he worked away to make my house cool once again.

Romans my dog, became excited. I picked him up in my arms to then open the door. As I opened the door, he noticed Romans. He said he liked dogs. He allowed Romans to sniff his hand, and then petted him. Romans loves attention, and decided that this guy would be great to spend more time with him.

The air conditioning guy had work to do though. He said he would be outside, and left us.

What does Romans do? He sits by the door, lays on the floor,and sulks. He sulks as he watches the door. He is waiting for the guy to come to show him some attention. To make him happy, and play with him. So 10 minutes, goes by, 30 minutes, an hour, and then two hours.

Romans continues to sit there, and sulk. I am meanwhile on my couch, and he could have easily have moved to be with me.

I looked at Romans, and I felt bad. I could not tell him that by longing, and focusing on this guy he was missing out on time with me.

I could not tell him that this guy was temporary. That he would just be here for a short time. That his attention was not the attention that I could give.

Romans eventually moved to me, and I petted him. I even played with him a little while.

After playing with Romans, a verse came to me.

Galatians 1:10

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

I have to admit that in my past, I have been like Romans. I think that many of you are stuck being like Romans also.

We have God who is lovely looking at us. He sees some people come in our lives. We focus a lot of time, and energy trying to get attention from them.

We even become upet, and can sulk when that attention does not come.

God uses us in each other lives. We sometimes get attached, comfortable or get in a habit with relationships. Our focus becomes those relationships. Our focus becomes their attention. Our focus becomes how we can have fun with them. Our focus becomes how to maintain those relationships.

Meanwhile as these relationships take more, more of our time. God is left to watch us. We spend less time with Him. We know He is there, but instead of looking at Him. We look for when someone will walk thru the door. We can’t wait to get that next text, email, phone call or invitation.

Sometimes we have to turn our head,and heart. Sometimes we have to remember that God is there. God wants our attention. He wants to show us love, and support us.

Sometimes after a while when our focus is has been turned from God long enough, we start having to seek the approval of those relationships to maintain them. By seeking the approval of those relationships we ignore God who is watching us from a distant.

We then become.Galatians 1:10 for if I were trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Really when we take a look, we are more like Romans than we really want to admit.

I have been their. I also have had to repent. God was so gracious to me. I really realized that God’s relationship with me is something worth saying no to others about.

Maybe during this time, God is showing you something to. Maybe it’s time to seek Him. This could be a time that God’s relationship with Him is going to increase while other relationships may decrease.

Ephesians 5:3-5

But sexual immorality and all impurity of covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, and idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

When the Spirit Surges

Prodigal:  Sometimes I feel confused.

Me:   We all feel confused sometimes.

Prodigal:  Yes, just pray for me.

Me:  God’s spirit, and word will lift the confusion.

This is from the book This is my Story, This is Our Song by Norman Fl. Blosat with Elva W. Blosat

Then the Spirit Surges

  1.  Be Open:  If you are upset by changes in your church, try looking at it from God’s point of view.  His world has deteriorated in recent years.  His church has often been ineffective.  There has been an appalling upsurge of immorality.  Might not the action of His Spirit bring a worldwide cleansing process?
  2. Strive for Balance:  One could easily become experience-centered, seeking a repeat of an original “high” and, often without realizing it, begin to worship the experience rather than the Lord Himself.  The importance of understanding the Trinitarian basis of the Christian faith must be stressed.
  3. The Holy Spirit is not Divisive:  As someone once said, “The Holy Spirit is not divisive, but people divide over the Holy Spirit.”  It is our frail humanity that causes us to be divisive–people with closed minds on both sides of an issue.  Learn to evaluate other believers by the fruit of the Spirit evident in their lives (Ephesians 5:9).  Focus first and foremost on “The Giver”–then on “The Gifts.”
  4. Seek Content:  There is a need for spiritual discipline in order that we might have growth in understanding God’s Word.
  5. Have a Sense of Wonder:  Don’t be a spiritual “legalist”  attempting to neatly box and catalog the works of the Holy Spirit.  “His ways are not our ways.”  The Surging Spirit is changing people and changing our world.  These are incredible times.

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Deuteronomy 6:5

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Which Will Be Your Choice

 

Me:  God’s way are like a bright light straight to our heart.

Prodigal:  Sometimes I can just feel that.

 

This is from the book Let the Journey Begin by Max Lucado

 

On one side stands the crowd.

Jeering.

Baiting.

Demanding.

On the other stands a peasant.

Swollen lips.

Lumpy eye.

Lofty promise.

One promises acceptance,

the other a cross.

One offers flesh and flash,

the other offers faith.

The crowd challenges, “Follow us and fit in.”

Jesus promises, “Follow me and stand out.”

They promise to please.

God promises to save….

God looks at you and asks…

Which will be your choice?

 

 

Thou wilt show me the path of life:  in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.  Psalm 16:11

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

To Really Know

Prodigal: With that dessert table, they will flock around you like chickens on a june bug.

Me: It wasn’t all me, the whole family joined in.

Prodial: It sure looks good.

The other day I made homemade fudge with my mom. Let me tell you a little bit about my mom. She learned to bake from her grandmother. She is really good at it. She has a natural ability with desserts that I can’t compare with any other that I have seen.

My mom bakes from years of experience. She does not measure, or follow recipes. She bakes from her heart. If you want to know how she made something, it can be difficult to get the detailed recipe. She just knows how to create.

If you give my mom, flour, butter, sugar, eggs. She can make some kind of dessert in no time flat. She will figure it out.

She had made fudge for the family, and I did not participate in eating that fudge so she decided to tell me how to make it.

She wanted to make fudge that was an old family recipe. It is not written down, but verbally explained to others. So we set a date, and time.

We called each other on phone with no facetime. We were in two different states, but she had her ingredients, and I had mine.

She started with “Cook the nuts until they smell done.” Now most of you have already panicked. What does that mean? Well it means about five minutes. My mom bakes with the heart remember.

We started to cook the chocolate mixture on the stove. I ask “How do I know when the chocolate is done?” My mom’s answer ” Well get some cold water, and when the chocolate seems to roll up, then it is done.”

I’m sure that half of you are wondering where are we in the recipe. This was part of the process, I was unsure also of what my mom really meant by this. I asked her a couple of questions, and looked at the chocolate, and was able to figure out that it had rolled up after a while.

The recipe was able to be completed. By the grace of God, the fudge turned out great! Me, and my mom ended up having great fun!

I know, most of you have no idea how to make fudge like that. To tell you the truth it was a little risk. With no clear direction, of exact minutes, and temperatures gauges, we could have easily failed at it too. We started making the fudge not knowing if it would be good, or not.

My mom was excited, and said she got compliments from my nephew, and brother. I got compliments from friends, and myself. We determined that this experiment really did work.

See my mom bakes from the heart.

My mom is paying attention as she goes along, and adds the ingredients, and in the end hopefully it all taste great.

I know we have recipes websites, cookbooks, online cooking classes, and never ending supply of new kitchen gadgets to make every step easy, and reliable.

My mom cooks from the heart. Sometimes her baking does not work. There has not been many times though that a dessert my mom has made has been completely eaten by somebody. In fact I can’t really remember those times it was not completely eaten, they seem so few. When my mom finishes a dessert, and it taste great, she is as excited as if it was the first time she ever made a dessert that goes well.

And as I reflected on this I thought of how we can follow God.

This is why following God really has to have a lot of heart. It can’t be all logic. It can’t be a complete recipe with the best gadgets that create an atmosphere of no risk.

God calls us to a task. We start, and have no idea when it is done, and what the process will really look like. In truth we have no idea if it will turn out as a great recipe.

God calls us to follow Him with heart. We have to be close to Him to continue to get direction. We can’t leave Him behind, and just have steps of a recipe in front of us. We have to have Him talk us through it. We have to take it one step a time. We have no idea if it will turn into something we will enjoy. We just have to try, and trust what God is telling us.

What I didn’t tell you is that years ago I tried to make no bake cookies on the phone with my mom. Once again with no recipe. I couldn’t do it. I had to wait until I was with her, and she showed me. I then learned a lot by watching, and listening. After some time I now am able to follow my mom more with her directions.

Sometimes before we can even risk the process with God we have to be familiar with watching, and listening to God in everyday life.

I know that God has called you to take a step. You have been use to recipes all your life. This seems so foreign. There are recipes for life all over the place that work out. God wants you to have a life with heart though. You can only get that by faith. You can only get it by trusting God. Along the way you may not be able to understand if this will turn out for the best, but still you can trust Him. Along the way you may think that you don’t understand, but you can trust Him to show you.

There is nothing wrong with recipes. I use them myself. There is nothing wrong with our lives at times when we use the recipe of lives. I have done that too. Now though is a different time. Now is the time to trust in the Lord.

Proverbs 25:13

As the cold snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refreshes the soul of his masters.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Protection

 

Prodigal:  I was wondering where you were?

Me:  I was held up, but I was trying to get here.

Prodigal:  It is ok, God was with me.

 

This is from the book Where Angels Walk by Joan Wester Anderson

 

In 1960, the well-known Dr. Norman Vincent Peale preached a sermon that included a story about an Episcopal minister in a Southern town who stood up to Sam, a political boss, and was able to defeat a plan of his.  “I’m going to kill that minister,”  Sam told several of his friends after the meeting.

Friends alerted the minister and offered to walk home with him, past a dark woods.  But the minister waved away their concerns.  “The Lord will be with me,” he told them, and he walked home alone in safety.

Years passed, and on his deathbed, Sam sent for this minister.  “Reverend, I meant to kill you that night,” he said.  “I was in the woods with a club.”

“Why didn’t you?”  the minister asked.

“What do you mean–why didn’t I?”  Sam asked.  “Who were those two big men with you?”

“There were no big men with me,”  the minister protested.

“Yes, there were,”  Sam said.  “I saw them.”

 

But with God indeed dwell on the earth?  Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee;  how much less this house that I have builded?

1 Kings 8:27

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

And Jesus Alone

Prodigal:  I love watching the fish.

Me:  It is suppose to reduce blood pressure.

Prodigal:  I feel relaxed.

Me:  Good, maybe this will help you with some praise.

This is from the book  The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah, or the Anointed One, who would redeem God’s people.  In effect, dozens of these Old Testament prophecies created a fingerprint that only the true Messiah could fit.  This gave Israel a way to rule out impostors and validate the credentials of the authentic Messiah.  Against astronomical odds–one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion–Jesus, and only Jesus throughout history, matched this prophetic fingerprint.  This confirms Jesus’ identity to an incredible degree of certainty.

Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new?  It hath been already of old time, which was before us.

Ecclesiastes 1:10

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Tunnel, Not a Cave

Me: I wonder where that tunnel leads.

Prodigal:  It doesn’t look to long.

Me:  No, and we have to remember that sometimes.

This is from the book Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy by Barbara Johnson

Nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my heavenly Father, NOTHING.  Whatever occurs, God has sovereignly surveyed and approved.  We may not know why (we may never know why), but we do know our pain is no accident to Him who guides our lives.  He is, in no way, surprised by it all.  Before it ever touches us, it passes through Him.

To come out of the darkness into the sunshine, it helps to remember you’re in a tunnel, not a cave.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org