Are You King of the Mountain?



Me:  Hi Prodigal, nice castle!


Prodigal:  Yes, I am ruler of this castle!


Me:  Well, I hope you rule your kingdom well and let me give you some encouragment in that area.


Prodigal:  What kind of suggestions do you have?


This is describing Peter, in the book Hope Again by Charles Swindoll


Once Peter decided to follow Christ, there was no turning back.  As time passed, he became all the more committed to the Master, a devoted and stubborn-minded disciple whose loyalty knew no bounds.

Utimately, however, his commitment was put to the test.  Jesus had warned him that Satan was hot on his heels, working overtime to trip him up.  But Peter was unmoved.  His response?  “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”  (Luke 22:34).  Jesus didn’t buy it.  He answered, “Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me” (Luke 22:34)  Though that prediction must have stung, Peter pushed it aside….self-assured and overly confident that it would never happen.

Wrong.  That very night, Jesus’ words turned to reality.  The loyal, strong-hearted, courageous Peter failed his Lord.  Deliberately and openly he denied that he was one of the Twelve.  Not once or twice but three times, back to back, he turned on the One who had loved him enough to warn him.

No longer loyal and strong, far from courageous and committed, the man was suddenly reduced to heaving sobs.  What guilt he bore!  How ashamed he felt!  Words cannot adequately portray his brokenness.  Emotionally, he plunged to rock bottom, caught in the grip of hopelessness; the effect was shattering.  Every time he closed his eyes he could see the face of Jesus staring at him, as if asking, “How could you Peter?  Why would you?  That look.  Those words.  The man was haunted for days.  The Savior’s subsequent death by crucifixion must have been like a nail driven into Peter’s heart.

Upon hearing of his Savior’s resurrection and also his Savior’s concern that he especially be given the message, Peter had hope beyond his failure.  Because of that, he could go on.

And, not surprisingly, he would later be the one who would write the classic letter of hope to those who needed to hear it the most…those who were residing “as aliens, scattered” across the vast landscape of the Roman Empire (1 Peter 1:1)

Between his earlier failure and his writing this letter, Peter had been used of God as the catalyst in the formation of the early church.  But having been broken and humiliated, his leadership was altogether different than it would have been without his failure.  Now that he had been rescued by grace and restored by hope, he had no interest in playing “king of the mountain” by pushing people around.  Rather, he became a servant-hearted shepherd of God’s flock.

See God’s plan now?  He doesn’t need a leader of His people playing “king of the mountain”.

Praise God for brokeness and that He uses failure to mold us!


1 Peter 6-7

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.



We Are A People Of Relationship

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Me:  Howdy Prodigal, who is your friend?


Prodigal:  This is Mr. Soldier and he is a great friend to me.


Me:  How is he a great friend?


Prodigal:  Well when ever I need to go someplace that might be dangerous for me, he comes along for my protection.


Me:  That is a blessing and I think we all need friends like that.


In Discerning the Right Decision by Gaspar Anastasi he talks about our friendships.


Divinely appointed relationships are also a place of protection.  Personally, I’m going to have anointed men and women of God whom I trust around me, people who can hear God and bear witness with my spirit before I make a major move.  A lot of people are afraid of accountability, but God has made us people of relationship for a reason.  I need the gift that’s in you and you need the gift that is in me.  Maybe at the moment, my emotions are too wrapped up in the problem for me to hear from God clearly.  I need you to help me cut through Satan’s snares and entanglements and make a right decision.

I look back over these past five years and I see my divinely appointed relationships.  How amazing it was that I met each one of you.  How amazing it was that we took time to know each other.  I have laughed with you.  You have seen me with sorrow.  You have seen me in the valley.  You have seen me on the mountain top with God’s glory.  You encouraged me, you supported me and you helped me grow.  You were my place of protection.

How grateful I am to God for my divinely appointed relationships!  The journey would not have been as wonderful without you.  I want you to know the love I have for you.  You are valued in my heart.


Job 16:20

My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pout out tears to God


Jennifer Van Allen



The Choir Loft

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Me:  Howdy Prodigal, where are you going?


Prodigal:  I decided to stop in at this chapel.  I heard it was beautiful!


Me:  I have a story about another chapel called the Loretto chapel.


Prodigal:  Of course I want to hear it!


Max Lucado in his book In the Eye of the Storm shares a story about the Loretto Chapel.


A block south of the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, on the corner of Water Street and Old Santa Fe Trail, you will find Loretto Chapel.  The Chapel was completed in 1878.  Loretto Chapel took five years to complete.  Modeled after the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, its delicate sanctuary contains an altar, a rose window, and a choir loft.

The choir loft is the reason for wonder.

In 1878 everything was complete:  the doors had been hung, the pews had been placed, the floor had been laid.  Everything was finished.  Even the choir loft.  Except for one thing.  No stairs.

The chapel was too small to accommodate a conventional stairwary.  The best builders and designers in the region shook their heads when consulted.  “Impossible,”  they murmured.  There simply wasn’t enough room.  A ladder would serve the purpose.

The Sister of Loretto were then faced with a challenge of fifteen impossible feet.

So what did they do?

They prayed for the impossible to happen.

The nuns prayed for nine days.  On the last last day, a Mexican carpenter with a beard and a wind-burned face appeared at the convent.  He explained that he had heard they needed a stairway to a chapel loft.  He thought he could help.

The mother superior had nothing to lose, so she gave him permission.

He went to work with crude tools, painstaking patience, and uncanny skill.  For eight months he worked.

One morning the Sisters of Loretto entered the chapel to find their prayers had been answered.  A masterpiece of carpentry spiraled from the floor to the loft.  Two complete three-hundred-sixty-degree turns.  Thirty-three steps held together with wooden pegs and no central support.  The wood is said to be a variety of hard fir, one nonexistent in New Mexico.

When the sisters turned to thank the craftsman, he was gone.  He was never seen again.  He never asked for money.  He never asked for praise.  He was a simple carpenter who did what no one else could do so singers could enter a choir loft and sing.


Pray for the impossible, you never know who or what may show up!  God delights in surprises.


Luke 1:37

For nothing will be impossible with God.


Jennifer Van Allen

Is Famine Moving You?

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Me: I smell that potatoe cooking on the stove.


Prodigal:  Yeah I am hungry and I want more but funds are low and I have to make just this.


Me:  Well, Praise God that you do have at least one potatoe to cook.  I can provide a story for you about sticking through these tough times if you want?


Prodigal:  I would love that!


Discerning the Right Decision by Gaspar Anastasi talks about famine and how to move through it.


Most of us are moved by what we see rather than by the Word of the living God.  Most of us go with our opinions or the opinions of others.  Do you know that your opinion doesn’t count if you are going to walk in God’s destiny for your life?  You’re going to have to trust His opinion over your own.  His point of view is not clouded by feelings and emotions.  His vision isn’t obscured by the dark circumstances.

How often we allow famine to move us from our divine appointments!  Each one of us has an appointed place of blessing.  Your marriage is an appointed place.  If you’re single, your singleness is an appointed place.  Your job is an appointed place.  Your apartment building or neighborhood is an appointed place.  The church you go to is an appointed place.  These are places where God has put you for now, so don’t let the circumstnaces move you.

I know it is hard too trust God right now.  I know, just look around you right now.  This is not what you imagined.  God has a plan.  God knew this was coming also.  God is asking you to tune out your voice and the voice of others and just trust His promises in His word.  Sometimes we have to stay in the refiners fire longer then we want too, but the result when we come out will be beautiful!

Don’t run right now.  Wait for this to turn beautiful!


1 Peter 1:7

So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


Jennifer Van Allen