God is Revealed

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Me:  Howdy Prodigal!  What are you doing today?


Prodigal:  Look who is here, baby Jesus.


Me:  Yes Jesus is present but has he revealed Himself to you?


Prodigal:  I am not sure I understand completely.


Me:  Let me share with you from E.M. Bounds in his book Guide to Spiritual Warfare


The Bible does not enter into an argument to prove the being and person of God.  It assumes His being and reveals His person and character.  Without preface or introduction,  the Bible brings God before us in all His majesty and omnipotence.  God was at the world’s beginning, and He created the beginning of all things.  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).  How sublime and inspiring is our first glimpse of God!  God is revealed not by argument but by work.  We learn what He is from what He does.


So if God shows us who He is by what He does, what does that mean about your relationship with God?  Do you even allow God to show himself to you?  We can invite God into our lives but do we put up blocks?

I am finding that God works best when I surrender all.  This means I am inviting Him closer to me as I surrender all.  Last week, I had to surrender my business to the Lord.  If I had not surrendered then I would not have seen how He completely protected me and also blessed me!  See we have to surrender before God can reveal Himself.  This is something that I know God really wants me to learn.  Surrender now, trust now, and then watch the revealing of the Lord!


Philippians 2:5-8

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


Jennifer Van Allen





Something About the Heart



Me:  Howdy, Prodigal.  Your friend looks a little scary with red eyes and that serious look.


Prodigal:  Her name is Faith.  She actually is the most loving cat to me.  She just looks tough and serious on the outside.


Me:  I don’t want to judge a book by its cover so I will look for her heart.


Me:  In fact that reminds me of the story of David.


Prodigal:  Lets hear it


Lysa Terkeurst gives a wonderful description about the story of David in her book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.


She begins with Saul and then continues into the story of David.

King Saul had displeased God-he had been obedient, but only to a certain point.  In fact, Saul was much more concerned with pleasing people then he was with pleasing God.  As a result, God eventually revealed to the prophet Samuel that a new King should be anointed to take Saul’s place.

God also revealed to Samuel that the future king of Israel would come from the house of Jesse, so Samuel sent word to Jesse to call together all of his sons.  When they arrived, Samuel immediately focused on Jesse’s oldest, a fine-looking man.  He probably looked like a king, smelled like a king, and, being eldest, he was positioned like a king.  But the Lord told Samuel, “Do not consider his outward appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

God obviously takes the spiritual condition of the heart very seriously.  It was the requirement of utmost importance when God was looking to pick a future king.  And since God doesn’t change, we can discern that the condition of a person’s heart is still a top priority of His today.

In our story, Samuel passed over all of the sons Jesse paraded before him.  None were chosen to be future king.  Samuel then asked Jesse if he had any other sons.  Jesse responded, “There is still the youngest but he is tending the sheep”(1 Samuel 16:11).

Isn’t it strange that Jesse didn’t forward all of his sons in the first place?  He was instructed to bring them all before Samuel, but for some reason he didn’t even consider David.

Why wouldn’t David have been included?  Surely it wasn’t merely for logistical reasons.  There must have been some servant who could have temporarily watched over David’s sheep.  I mean think of the magnitude of this opportunity!

That David was not even brought before Samuel gives us crucial evidence about David’s position in his family.  He was overlooked by everyone.  Overlooked by everyone, but handpicked by God.

Being overlooked and rejected by people does not equate to being overlooked and rejected by God.  Often it means the opposite. 

Sometimes I think that God allows us to be overlooked and rejected by people to see if we are truly interested in serving God or in pleasing people.  It is easy to crave that smile, those words of encouragement, the social status of certain people.  God is showing me though that I really crave and long for the peace and comfort I get from knowing that I am pleasing God and following the direction he has for me no matter how tough the road seems! Even if it means be rejected and overlooked.


1 Corinthians 1:27-29

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of this world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.


Jennifer Van Allen





Are You Like A Tree?

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Me:  Howdy, Prodigal how is tree climbing today?


Prodigal:  Great!  They have so many trees and they are very close together.


Me:  I was just reading and I discovered something about the closeness of trees.


Prodigal:  I would love to know.


Koechel Peterson shares a story in God’s Little Devotional Book about trees and how they work together.


The next time you visit a very dense forest, try to imagine what is taking place under your feet.  Scientists now know when the roots of trees come into contact with one another, a substance is released that encourages the growth of a particular kind of fungus.  This fungus helps link roots of different trees-even those of dissimilar species.  If one tree has access to water, another to nutrients, and a third to sunlight, the fungus enables the transfer of these items to trees that may be in need.  Thus the trees have the means of sharing with one another to preserve them all.

Our culture today applauds individualism.  This isolates people from one another and cuts them off from the mainstream of life. 


With technology, busyness of life and obligations, it is easy to pass through the days and weeks without really connecting to others but on a superficial level.  Do I isolate from others at times?  Of course I do.  Is it the best thing always?  No it is not.  We need down time with God and to restore our soul but what is that balance.  Well that balance looks different every day and every week.  I am growing and learning through that balance now.

I will say this though.  My friends out there, have loved me through this fault.  God has gifted me with the best friends a person could have.  They have loved me through the negative parts of my personality.  They have loved me through my down days.  They have loved me through my behaviors.  I would never be where I am or who I am without being connected to your root!  I love you and cherish you!


Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  Hebrews 10:25

Jennifer Van Allen






Knowledge Alone Can Be Dangerous

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Me:  Howdy, Prodigal!  Your friend has very big hands!


Prodigal:  Yes, everyone always ask about them.


Me:  So with those big hands, Can he throw a good punch?


Prodigal:  He sure can!  He is quite a dangerous fellow in a good ole fist fight.


Me:  Well then it would be very dangerous of me to insult him at all during this time.  Instead I think I will talk about knowledge today.


I am going to reference Chuck Swindoll in his book Growing Deep in the Christian Life, as he talks about the role of knowledge in our Christian walk.


1.  Knowledge can be dangerous when it lacks scriptural support-intelligent, biblical support.  Knowledge just for knowledge’s sake is a heady thing and can turn into pride.  God’s word frequently warns us about being full  of knowledge and feeling “puffed up” because of it.


2.  Knowledge can be dangerous when it becomes an end in itself.  God gave us His truth so that we may put it into practice, not simply store it up.


3.  Knowledge can be dangerous when it isn’t balanced by love and grace.  Such knowledge results in arrogance, which leads to an intolerant spirit…an exclusive mindset.


4.  Knowledge can be dangerous when it remains theoretical-when it isn’t mixed with discernment and action.


Well looking over this list, I can tell you that I am guilty of using knowledge in all these ways.  You know it didn’t help me.  It didn’t make my relationships better.  It didn’t make me feel better about who I was.  It didn’t satisfy me.

Knowledge is not wrong though.  We should not be ignorant.  Christians are not walking around being brain washed.  We just need a balance is all.  How do we glorify God, if we know every bible verse my heart but there is no love behind it?


1 Samuel 2:3

Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.


Jennifer Van Allen




Dirty and Useless

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Me:  Prodigal, have you looked in the mirror?


Prodigal:  No, why?


Me:  You have dirt on your nose.


Prodigal:  Wow, now that I look at my self, I am dirty all over from working in the yard.  Do you mind sharing even when I look like this.


Me:  Prodigal not at all, I accept you the way that you are!


I am reading a book by Debra Evans entitled But For God.  She talks about the perceptions that she has of herself.  I thought it would be great to share below.


As you would expect, I thought as a little child that if my mother was dirty and bad, that made me dirty and bad too.  What I could not understand then was that what my mother did for a living did not make me anything;  I was simply…her daughter.  Still, shame corroded my self-image, as it is so inclined to do, and the enemy found a foothold and whispered names to me that God never would.  Satan called me Dirty, Liar, Useless, Unwanted, Mistake….until I wore shame like a dirty rag and begin to look at my entire life through its broken glass.

The enemy had beset me with a lie, just like he does so many daughters.  In my mind, I had no beginning; I was just a continuation of my mother.  Because that idea was far too painful to work through, and the lie began when I was too young to process all the dynamics, I bought into the deceptive fantasy Satan held up to me.  It wasn’t until I learned the truth and became clearly defined as my own person that I was set free.  Time, and the saturation of God’s Word into our lives, allows us the opportunity to absorb the truths we need in order to mature beyond those childhood deceptions.


God will heal you through your pain, but it is usually a windy path that is not straightforward.  He makes sure that he leaves no lies tucked away to resurface later.  He will heal completely.  That is why it takes a while.  That is why it involves a lot of struggle.  When you get to the end though and the healing truth of Gods word is taking over, all you see is God’s footprints covering your walk.  His footprints do not wash away in the sand.  They are edged in concrete where you will see them and all others will be able to see them too.


Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds


Jennifer Van Allen




Isn’t That Risky?

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Me:  Prodigal, Where are you going?


Prodigal:  I don’t know.


Me:  What do you mean you don’t know?


Prodigal:  Well my friend owns this train and invited me to go for a journey.  I just would not be able to determine where I was going.


Me:  Isn’t that risky?


Prodigal:  No because I know my friend.


Me:  What a very true point, and that goes along with the story for today.


Catherine Marshall talks about how God works on us in the book Beyond Ourselves.


There is one central core of the entering in or commitment experience that is common to everyone who undergoes it.  It is the act of putting

one-self-past, present, and future-into God’s hands to do with as He pleases.

A girl once asked me, “But isn’t that a terrible risk?”

Yes, it certainly would be, if we had a God who wanted to deprive us of joy rather than add joy to our lives, if He were not a God who cares supremely for us and our welfare.  But what He wants for us is exactly what every thoughtful parent wants for his child-that pure, deep-flowing joy that springs out of maturity and fulfillment.

That God is like this, each of us must discover for ourselves.  There is only one difficulty.  The discovery comes second,  the act of will first.  The order of events can never be reversed:  action on our part, that is, the decision to hand our life over to God and the promising of obedience; then, and only then, comes understanding and the unfolding knowledge of the character of God.


See this is really tough to learn for those of us who have problems with trusting.  See like most of y’all, I have been hurt.  I dealt with the hurt by not trusting others.  It is natural for me to not trust others.  I to this day like to slowly know someone and do not rush into trusting them.

Then God told me to be obedient and act on faith first and I was scared to death!   I wanted to have understanding, I wanted all the facts to be shown to me.  I wanted to be able to make a decision based on the facts so I could avoid being hurt.  So you know what God did?  He said Jennifer, you can trust me, I am not man.

He wanted me to have that trust and that faith.  I had confused God with man.  I though blind obedience to God would mean I would get hurt.  Because blind obedience to man can get you hurt.  Look at God’s word and look at what it says.  It says over and over again that God loves us and His plans are for good!

So what does God do, he puts me in situation after situation where it looks on the surface that this will not turn out for good. The situation looks like I am being punished, it looks like it will destroy my whole future.  What happens.  God shows up after my act of obedience and everything is completely turned around.  I fall on my face and see is Glory and see how God really does want the best for me!


Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.


Jennifer Van Allen,






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Me:  Hi Prodigal!


Prodigal:  Howdy, I found this wonderful short poem about the south.


Me:  I love it!  It is so very true


Prodigal:  I was just reading  a poem about God


Me:  I would love to hear it!


This poem is from an anonymous poet


My name is I AM.


If you live in the past,

It will be very hard,

for I am not there.

My name is not I WAS.


And if you live in the future,

It will be very hard,

For my name is not I WILL BE.

But if you live in the present,

It is not hard,

For my name is I AM.


How tough of a lesson this is to learn.  Before I was refined a lot by God, I loved to live in the future.  I had so many different plans.  I had a five year plan, one year plan, three month plan.  I had my whole life planned out and it was going to be great.  You might ask if I have those plans now.  No I do not.

God has taught me over the past couple of years to live in the present.  To have God guide me.  See if I am focused on this five year plan or one year plan then I will push Gods plan aside.  I will try to make Gods plan work with mine and put my ideas in front of Gods.  Then we never really get see Gods glory in our lives.  When our plan is first it is about us and our glory.   When we release today and tomorrow then it gives God a chance to change things.  We see God work.  We see God use us and take us places that we did not imagine.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t work.  This doesn’t mean  not to save money.  This just means we give God the right to change our plans and our timing.  Look at your schedule today.  Is the focus on what you think should be number one today or is God trying to tell you to put something else first.


Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.


Jennifer Van Allen,