John Newton

Me: I have a story for y’all.

Prodigal: We are all ready.

This is from the book Stories Behind Men of Faith by Ace Collins

At the heart of most of his sermons were stories of Newton’s own battles with sin. He used examples of his own pre-salvation experiences to highlight the power of God to lift a man out of hell and into the light. Week in and week out he used the word grace in letters and sermons as he tried to explain God’s greatest and most amazing gift.

As he set aside his Bible, Newton glanced over to a stack of hymns he had recently written with William Cowper. Cowper was a genius, a man who could compose lyrics that resonated stronger than any sermon the preacher had ever penned. His songs, such as “Light Shining out of the Darkness,” were dynamic in their scope and power, and hundreds of people had been saved simply by hearing the Lord’s call in Cowper’s words. Yet the grace he wrote about was lost on the man. The songwriter was deeply troubled, often spiraling into the depths of depression, constantly moaning in spiritual pain and crying for hours on end.

A few days before, Cowper had tried and failed to end his life. This attempt was another in a long line of failed suicide attempts. Now living with Newton and his wife, the songwriter spent as much time pleading for death as he did trying to fight for life. The spiritual battle being waged over the talented man’s soul was one of the few negative elements in Newton’s world. He simply could not understand how his friend could write so brilliantly about the light but not see it in his own world. If only he could find a way to present the story of grace in a fashion that would touch Cowper’s heart and mind. The pastor attempted to tailor a message that would bring a peace to the distressed man. In truth, Cowper could not fathom the depth of Newton’s words, but the message found on that New Year’s Eve would resonate with hundreds of millions in a way nothing ever had.

Picking up a pen. Newton focused on what had become a familiar theme and direction for his sermons. First he told a home spun parable of the fall from grace and redemption.

“A company of travelers fall into a pit: one of them gets a passenger to draw him out. Now he should not be angry with the rest for falling in; nor because they are not yet out, as he is. He did not pull himself out: instead, therefore, of reproaching them, he should shew them pity…..A man, truly illuminated, will no more despise others, than Bartimeus, after his own eyes were opened, would take a stick, and beat every blind man he met.

Rereading his words, Newton wondered if Cowper or others would see themselves in the pit. Would anyone feel the need to accept God’s love and be pulled from his or her lowly state? Would this story provide the insight a soul needed to accept Christ and walk in faith?

After he finished his text, the clergyman reviewed his sermon, only to discover that while his message of salvation was strong, it was still missing something. Newton glanced back over the songs he had been writing with Cowper, then pulled out a piece of blank paper. Using his own redemptive experience, he carefully crafted lyrics that reflected his message for the January 1 service.

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)

That sav’d a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas race that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears reliev’d;

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many danger, toils and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,

His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease;

I shall possess, within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who call’d me here below,

Will be forever mine.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide they way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Found The Secret

Me: You look a million miles away.

Prodigal: Just being present with God.

This is from the book The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

Many have found the secret of which I speak and , without giving much thought to what is going on within them, constantly practice this habit of inwardly gazing upon God. They know that something inside their hearts sees God. Even when they are compelled to withdraw their conscious attention in order to engage in earthly affairs, there is within them a secret communion always going on. Let their attention but be released for a moment from necessary business and it flies at once to God again. This has been the testimony of many Christians, so many that even as I state it thus I have a feeling that I am quoting, though from whom or from how many I cannot possibly know.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

PSALM 5 : 3

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Me: Where’s your cookie?

Prodigal: That was swallowed faster than a hot knife cutting through butter.

Me: It must’ve been good.

Prodigal: It was.

This is a video devotion on Proverbs

Click here to watch the video

Proverbs 8:4

Unto you, O man, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. (KJV)

Jennifer Van Allen

www.faithincounseling.org

www.theprodigalpig.com

God’s Worship

Prodigal: I think guidelines would be helpful today.

Me: Yes, satan tries to create confusion.

This is from the book The Dynamics of Worship by James P. Gills, M.D.

One of the obvious contrasts between response to the demonic and response to the Divine is that the demonic prefers a mindlessness or trance, but God always demands an active mind and will. Relationship with God in worship is for the entire person–spirit, soul and body–and we are invited to be willing and active participants in that experience.

Don’t get confused. God is peace, joy, truth. Satan brings confusion, shame and lies. There are different spiritual forces around us all the time. We have to determine what is God and what is not. Do not fall for satan lies today.

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

I CORINTHIANS 8 : 6

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Grace For Us

Prodigal: Yesterday was a brow beater.

Me: Maybe this will help you for today!

God hath not promised skies always blue,

Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.

God hath not promised sun without rain,

Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day,

Rest for the laborer; light on the way,

Grace for the trial, help from above,

Unfailing sympathy–undying love.

Annie Johnson Flint

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

ISAIAH 40 : 8

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: What are y’all looking at?

Me: We looking for Jesus!

This is a short video devotional on Proverbs.

click here watch the video

Proverbs 8:3

She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, At the entrance of the doors: (NKJV)

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Praise To God

Prodigal: Praise God the watermelons are growing!

Me: Let’s praise God some more.

This is from Max Lucado He Reminded Us of You

You Are a great God.

Your character is holy.

Your truth is absolute.

Your strength is unending.

Your discipline is fair.

You are a great God.

The mountain of your knowledge has no peak.

The ocean of your love has no shore.

The fabric of your fidelity has no tear.

The rock of your word has no crack.

You are a Great God.

Your patience surprises us.

Your beauty stuns us.

Your love stirs us.

You are a great God.

Your provisions are abundant for our needs.

Your light is adequate for our path.

Your grace is sufficient for our sins.

You are a great God.

We even declare with reluctant words, your plan is perfect.

You are never early, never late.

Never tardy, never quick.

Your sent your Son in the fullness of time and will return at the consummation of time.

Your plan is perfect.

Bewildering. Puzzling. Troubling.

But perfect.

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother

Matthew 12:50

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

I Don’t Need

Me: No, I don’t need more pie.

Prodigal: It was good, but I am full.

Me: We can focus on this song instead.

If this is not a place where tears are understood

Then where shall I go to cry?

And if this is not a place where my spirit can take wings

Then where shall I go to fly?

I don’t need another place

for tryin’ to impress you

With just how good and virtuous I am,

no,no,no.

I don’t need another place

for always bein’ on top of things

Everybody knows that it’s a sham,

it’s a sham.

I don’t need another place

for always wearin’ smiles

Even when it’s not the way I feel.

I don’t need another place

to mouth the same old platitudes

Everybody knows that it’s not real.

So if this is not a place where my questions

can be asked

Then were shall I go to seek?

And if this is not a place where my heart cry

can be hear

Where, tell me where, shall I go to speak?

by Ken Medema

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Me: I’ll be dog gon’ if I didn’t forget some.

Prodigal: Well, it just means you have to make some more

This is a video devotion on Proverbs.

click here to watch video on Proverbs

Proverbs 8:2

She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, Beside the way, where the paths meet. (NKJV).

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Godward Qualities

Me: I think Alyson is sweet on you.

Prodigal: I don’t mind at all!

This is from the book Soul Winner by C.H. Spurgeon

A person who is to be used by God must believe that what he is going to do is for the glory of God, and he must work from no other motive. When outsiders go to hear some preachers, all that they remember is that they were excellent actors, but here is a very different kind of preacher. After they have heard him preach, they do not think about how he looked or how he spoke, but about the solemn truths he uttered. A preacher may keep rolling out what he has to say in such a fashion that those who listen to him say to one another, “Do not see that he lives by his preaching? He preaches for a living.” I would rather hear it said, “That man said something in his message that made many of the people think less of him; he uttered the most distasteful sentiments; he did nothing but drive at us with the Word of the Lord while he was preaching. His one aim was to bring us to repentance and faith in Christ.” That is the kind of man whom the Lord delights to bless.

Proverbs 21:1

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org