Bold Love

Me:  That is bold getting that close to the vulture.

Prodigal:  There is no fear at the moment.

Me:  That is boldness!

This is from the book  Bold Love by Dr. Dan B. Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III

Bold love is not reckless or cruel.  It is not beating up another in the name of sharing or intervention.  Bold love is courageously setting aside our personal agenda to move humbly into the world of others with their well-being in view, willing to risk further pain in our souls, in order to be an aroma of life to some and an aroma of death to others.  Boldly loving another with the energy of Christ (Colossians 1:8-9)

We are very selfish.  Just think how you would rather serve and you would only serve when you get that recognition.  How about if you served and everyone ignored you, including the person who you served.  That is selfish when we serve only because we will get something in return.  How bold was Jesus love when He served and did not receive anything at all!

Mark 11:3

And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this?  Say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

It Is Not Love

Me:  Sometimes love can be confusing.

Prodigal: I know God calls us to love.

Me:  Maybe this will help clear up some confusion.

This is from Bold Love by Dr. Dan B. Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III

For example, many people ignore the harm done to them and call it”forgiving” the other.  In fact, one reason it may be ignored is the fear of causing conflict.  When fear of the other is the undergirding motive for turning the other cheek, it cannot be called love, or forgiving the other.  A lot of activity that is seen as spiritual is unfused with fear, pretense, and ritual.  The take-care-of-yourself movement accurately sees the potential for what appears to be loving behavior to be based on a heart that is not concerned with love, but with protecting the self or others from difficult truths.

The two options discussed are not without merit, but both leave me empty.  The first minimizes pain, and the second undervalues sacrifice.  Something is wrong with our understanding of love and forgiveness if popular teaching encourages either (1) a self-righteous pardoning of the sinner based on denial and pretense or (2) a self-absorbed reclamation of the soul through the unbiblical act of forgiving yourself, rather than receiving God’s forgiveness.

We are called to love others and not make it all about ourselves.  If someone bullies you into not keeping your boundaries than it is not about God at all, but they are being selfish.  They want to use God’s word to twist it so that the focus is about pleasing them.  We do not love out of fear.  We have peace when we love the way God wants us to love.

Mark 11:25

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Centered on God

Me:  I’m enjoying our time together.

Prodigal:  Me too!

Me:  Let me share about what God has shown me lately.

This is from the book Believe and Rejoice by James P. Gills, M.D.

When we are centered on God, we have a fuller, deeper understanding of how much we need the Lord, and we are able to worship Him for His power and majesty.  As we stand close to Him, the things of this world are put in proper perspective, and we can enjoy them as we align ourselves with Him.

When we truly deal with God in repentance and faith, we hand over our egos, our independence, our desires, and our worries about the future.  It is not easy to give up this control.  As we human beings we like to be in charge of our lives.  And the world tells us that we should be in control.  God must humble us and crush us completely before we will seek God and see God as we ought.  But when we see through God’s eyes, we understand that He alone can satisfy us.  He will provide for us.  And we learn more and more to trust implicitly in Him.

Sometimes we think we have repented, and have agreed to stop going in our own direction, but often God looks into our hearts and still sees a trace of that independence.  He sees that we still think it might be best if we do things our way.  God wants totally control and total humility right now.  We can trust in Him.

Blessed is he that considereth the poor:  the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

Psalm 41:1

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

The Skirt

Me: Nice dress.

Prodigal: This is what they use to wear years ago.

Me: Now we have more choices.

You know satan has a hold on you, when you can’t get out of your skirt. I looked down. The skirt was beautiful. It was a royal blue skirt that fit me perfect. It looked professional and was the right length. The skirt was not uncomfortable, and was even flattering to my body.

My battle was with the skirt at this very moment, and I was losing. Since I was losing, my attitude was going south with it. Let me back up though. Let me start at the beginning of the day.

My night had not been a restful sleep. I seemed bound to the state of sleep which seems like you are on the edge of waking up at any moment. This element including in my hours of sleep, turned the night quickly to one of unrest.

As the glow of the day began, I did not feel refreshed or focused. I did have to begin my day, because there were schedules to keep, and commitments that could not be broken.

As the day progressed, so did the unrest. Several times during the day, my agitation and frustration seem to escalate to the point of boiling over. What was bothering me. Just frustrations that happen in life. I was not dealing with a personal crisis, major health problems, or lack of any basic needs.

No this was a day, that was like any other day in our American culture. Pretty normal with several things that did not go the way they were planned. My spirit though was agitated as if the day was devoured by an evil that lay waste to my world.

As I walked through the front door of my place, after work, I wanted to get out of my nice clothes and change. This is where we fast forward to me looking at my skirt. The problem was that the zipper had broke and would not move down at all.

I was stuck. I could not take my skirt off. I tried several attempts and even moved and turned the skirt around on my waist so that the zipper was in a better position for me to unzip. After minutes of this, I decided to just walk my dog and come back with a second assault.

After the dog walk, I attempted again. I tugged, pulled, smoothed, yanked and begged the zipper to give away. I soon began to realize that this zipper might be broke. I started to try to develop plans.

I thought maybe I should just sleep in it and attempt again tomorrow. I was agitated, frustrated, and resentful. How could this happen. Why me? Then the thought struck me that satan has a hold of you.

I am in bondage to the skirt. I know how to sew. I have made clothes and know how zippers work. I could tell that this one was broken and it happen to break with me in it. This skirt was no longer what I needed. I just did not want to admit it.

If I admitted it. I knew what I would have to do. I would have to take scissors and cut the skirt to get it off and then throw the skirt away. Why did it matter? There were other skirts in my closet. I would not do with out.

Satan had my spirit focused on entitlement, pride, selfishness and materialism. I was in bondage. I had to hang on to this thing. I had to have it. Is that not how satan keeps us down and in bondage? In your spirit you know it is broken. You know you have to let it go. You know you cannot keep it. You don’t want to. You are so focused on not letting go, that you cannot see that God has other plans that are good.

I took the scissors and I cut open the skirt and threw it away. As soon as I released myself from it. I knew that I was in bondage to that skirt. There was no need for me to hold on to something that was broken. By staying in that skirt, part of me remained broken also. I could not be free until I began the process of letting go. When I did, the release was refreshing and wonderful and not scary and painful like I imagined.

Maybe you have never been stuck in a skirt with a broken zipper, but are you sure your not stuck in bondage to something else? If you are, there is no condemnation but only a fellow friend encouraging you that freedom is worth the risk.

Psalm 103:8

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Jennifer Van Allen

Balance in Leadership

Me:  There has been a lot of changes in my schedule already today.

Prodigal:  Sometimes that happens but we need to be flexible sometimes.

Me:  That is true.

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

Wisdom gives a leader balance and helps to avoid eccentricity and extravagance.  If knowledge come by study, wisdom come by Holy Spirit filling.  Then a leader can apply knowledge correctly.  “Full of wisdom” was one of the requirements for even subordinate leaders in the early church (Acts 6:31).

Don’t get off balance today.  Don’t focus too much on yourself.  Remain Humble.

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God:  for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

Joel 2:23

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounsel.org

Such Love

 

Me:  The Lord is worthy to serve!

Prodigal:  I agree and I do not spend enough time with Him.

Me:  Lets go to Him now!

 

This is from the book Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado

 

Gracious Father, you took the initiative to reach out to me–even in my sin and selfishness–in order to bring me into your eternal kingdom, through the work of Christ.  I cannot fathom such love!

And yet, Father, I try to hoard your grace!  Put up walls of protection that I might keep hurt out and blessing in.  I am like the clam that shuts itself up in its shell, afraid of threats from the outside.  You call me to unshell myself and to partner with you in your mission of love.  Unshell me, Lord, that I, too, may reach out to a lonely, discouraged, and even hopeless world.

 

In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:  for all the earth is mine.  Exodus 19:5

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodgialpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

 

 

 

God Dying for Him

Prodigal:  Why is the cross so important?

Me:  It was an act of love.

Prodigal:  That sounds amazing to me.

This is from the book  The Cross of Christ by John R. W. Stott

“God dying for man,” wrote P.T. Forsyth.  “I am not afraid of that phrase;  I cannot do without it.  God dying for men; and for such men – hostile, malignantly hostile men.” Again, because ‘ the holiness of God…. is meaningless without judgement’, the one thing God could not do in the face of human rebellion was nothing.  ‘He must either inflict punishment or assume it.  And he chose the latter of course,as honouring the law while saving the guilty.  He took his own judgement.’

We think God is all love or we think God is all about punishment.  Neither one is true.  We walk in fear or we have no fear at all.  God is both and that is the perfect balance.  He guides us with grace and also grows us with discipline at times.  It all started though when He agreed to be on the cross instead of making us go.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

John 1:51

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org