09-19-15 101


Me:  Howdy Prodigal, what are you doing downtown?


Prodigal:  Just walking around.


Me:  All the buildings are so tall and amazing, look at what man can engineer.


Prodigal:  I was just thinking the same thing.  They are monuments to men.


Me:  Well I have another thought for you.  Let me share from Ravi Zacharias Beyond Opinion Living the Faith We Defend.


One of the fundamental factors leading to the rise of atheism is a perception that belief in the divine does not lead to a morality that is clearly superior to that offered by secular culture.


I know we have all heard it how the morality of the Bible is old fashioned and cannot help us.  Let me counter that with the world though.  What offers us justice.  The court system?  Why do you think there has been so much controversy over the years with so many court cases.  Is it because the courts are doing a great job of defining and upholding morality without God?

How about just in our own private worlds.  Everywhere you look it is now  acceptable to tell “white lies”.  When was the last time you were hurt by lies or gossip.  This is the morality that is superior in the world.

The Bible does have answers for this.  God states that justice will be served to all.  He also tells us that all lies and gossip are not good for us and the world.  These are just a couple of things to compare.  We could go in more detail though.  For right now, lets try to follow the morality of the Bible.  The benefit is that it helps keep us from the pit we can make for ourselves.


Roman 1:16

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.


Jennifer Van Allen

Forgotten By Grace



Me:  Prodigal, who is that?  I love his white fur!


Prodigal:  This is Happy and he is white all over completely spotless!


Me:  Well I am just finishing a busy week and busy weekend with Easter but wanted to share a story of what happened yesterday.


Prodigal:  Sure, we can listen!


It was Thursday.  It was going to be a back to back busy day.  I had a therapy appointment started first thing in the morning and there was going to be four more through out the day.  The little bit of free time I did have would be spent checking on some insurance information talking with some other professionals about others matters and grabbing a real quick bite to eat.  Then driving through rush hour traffic I was going to attend my first Maundy Thursday at my church.

Just a quick background about Maundy Thursday.  It is a service the Thursday before Easter and represents the Last Supper that Jesus had before his death.  I really did not know what to expect but was able to make it there a little before the service started.

People read scripture, we sang and our pastor Justin preached some about Jesus and the sacrifice of dying on the cross for us for our sins.  The lights were turned down and we had candles lit to soften the atmosphere.  Part of the service was to participate in communion.  I know several churches will handle this different but we have an alter and the grape juice and usually matzah is placed on the alter.  We will stand in line to take a cup of grape juice and a piece of matzah.

We started with silent prayer reflecting on what Jesus has done for me and also clearing my heart of any sin of anger, un forgiveness, pride, or anything else before I partook of the communion.  Now we have communion about once a month.  I have been a partaker of this for years.  The music starts and I see several who began to walk up front to take their sacraments.  We were going to take them back to our seat and then eat and drink at the same time as a congregation.

I walk up and grab the juice and the matzah.  I walk back to my seat in the front.  I sit down and what do I do next?  I spill half the grape juice all over my pants.  Did I forget to mention that I had a social function I was attending right after the service.  Being true to who I am, I did not spill in one small spot.  It was not maybe on the inside of my leg so it might be hidden.  It was on the front and rolled down so it was a couple of inches long.  Don’t worry the mistake did not get on the carpet or the pew.  It was just all over my pants for everyone to see.

Here I was in this service and we were reflecting God’s gift, Jesus’s sacrifice and the love of our God.  Then I look down and there is this long stain on the front of my pants.  So what could go through your mind at that moment.  People are going to thing I am stupid that I don’t know how to drink cup for communion.  They might not want to be around me with my mess.  They may think that my life is a mess if my pants are.  How fun will it be to walk around socializing with others with a huge stain for everyone to see.  Then my mind return to the service and listened to more of Jesus and what a wonderful savior I have.  The mistake was forgotten for the moment.  It was not long and the service was over. We walked out into the sun in quietness.

I left the building and went to my car.  I remember my stain and looked down and guess what?  It was gone!  You never would have noticed that I made that mistake.  See I was wearing burgundy pants that day.  When the grape juice dried it was the exact same color and it erased the mistake.  My first thought was now THAT IS GODS GRACE!

God’s grace doesn’t go back in time and make me not spill the grape juice.  It didn’t stop me from having a wet spot show up after my mistake but after turning to Jesus in repentance and giving some time the mistake was slowly erased with the surroundings.

Some of us are walking around with white pants and when a mistake is made it seems so big to us.  With white pants mistakes do seem to be bigger.  God never called us to wear white pants of perfection.  We put that burden on ourselves.  God knows we will make mistakes and he knows that they will show for a little while.  His plan though is to redeem us and then it will be like the mistake never happened.  May be it is time for you to stop trying to wear the white pants of perfection.  Put on a pair of beige, blue, purple or any other color because that is who God made us to be!


1 John 2:2

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for sins of the whole world.


Jennifer Van Allen


07-11-15 104


Me:  Howdy, Prodigal! What is on the schedule for today?

Prodigal:  I am trying to learn how to operate this machine.  It is my first time driving it.

Me:  There can be a learning curve when trying to learn new things. Let me share with you so it can encourage you with your time today at work.

A really good book to read is Charles Spurgeon a Joy in Christ’s Presence. I will share from that today.

The way to learn a truth thoroughly is to learn it by experience, and the way to learn more is to use what you know.  Out of all those who are sure of the truth of our holy faith, none are as certain as those who feel its divine power upon themselves.  You may reason yourself into a belief of the Gospel, and you may, by further reasoning, keep a strict religious code; but a personal trial and an inward knowledge of the truth are incomparably the best evidences.

Now is the time to remember the truth that the Lord has taught you from your personal trial.  What has been the best teacher.  Jesus.  What has been my test?  my trial.  Now take time to remember the process.  To remember the protection of our Lord.  To remember His love. To remember that HE is for us!


Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.


Jennifer Van Allen

Armor of God

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Me:  Nice outfit Prodigal!


Prodigal:  I have my armor on.  I was reading the bible and talks about putting your armor on.


Me:  That is very true but he also talks about it being spiritual armor.  I don’t know if you need real armor like that…..


Beth Moore in her book Believing God explains it better than me.


Ephesians 6:16  Above all, taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  Why “above all” do we need to learn to use, our shield of faith?  Because the shield is the armor’s armor.  The ancient warrior hoped the fiery dart never reached the helmet or the breastplate.  A direct hit on any of the defensive covers could still stun and bruise even if it didn’t wound.   The warrior’s goal was to extinguish any oncoming dart with his shield in order to diffuse all potential damage.  When the warrior’s shield was down, the other pieces of armor were vastly more vulnerable.

The same is true in our warfare. Our toughest battles will invariable concern matters of faith–times when we’re tempted to think God’s Word and His ways won’t work for us, that He has abandoned us, let us down, or failed to come through for us.  If Satan can get us to drop our shield of faith, he knows we can’t remain standing for very long.  

Let us have faith at this time!  God will prevail and not the enemy!!


Romans 1:17

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”


Jennifer Van Allen

A Great Success

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Me:  Prodigal, nice catch!


Prodigal:  It was actually the biggest and best catch of the day.  You can just call me the best fisher pig ever!


Me:  Are you letting success get to your head?


Prodigal:  I could be….


Me:  Well let me quote Charles Spurgeon for you.


Success exposes a man to the pressure of people and thus tempts him to hold on to his gains by means of fleshly methods and practices, and let himself be ruled wholly by the dictatorial demands of incessant expansion.  Success can go to my head, and will unless I remember that it is God who accomplished the work, that He can continue to do so without my help, and that He will be able to make out with other means whenever He cuts me down to size.


O God, how you are not impressed with anything that I can accomplish.  You know that anything that was done that has been worthwhile has been through your Holy Spirit that is within me.  Let me remember and Praise Your HOLY NAME for what I have today!


And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
 Job 1:21


Jennifer Van Allen


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Me:  Howdy Prodigal,  you are covered in dirt and sweat.


Prodigal:  Yeah, I am just tending to these flowers.


Me:  They look beautiful!  I have a story about another garden that I want to share with you.


Elizabeth Sherrill  shared this story in the Daily Guideposts


A mile from our house is a roadside restaurant in a spectacular garden setting.  For years, on my morning walk, I’ve stopped to gaze over the hedge at beds of roses, peonies, asters, an acre and more of color changing with the seasons.  Who couldn’t have a beautiful garden, I’ve thought, with the gardening staff they must have here!

I’d always gone by too early to see any of them at work.  Then one day, when I had to handle a big mailing project single-handedly, I didn’t get out to walk till afternoon.  As I passed the garden, a stocky middle-age man came from the restaurant basement carrying a tray of begonias.  Seeing me stop, he waved me inside the hedge.  He had to spell his last name before I caught it:  Joseph Csomor.

“Are you the head gardener?”  I asked.

Mr. Csomor shook his head.  “Just the assistant.”

He’d come here from Hungary twenty-seven years ago, he went on.  The restaurant had hired him as a cleaning man, but when he was through sweeping and scrubbing, he’d spent his free time digging around the roots of the potted geraniums that were the only flowers on the place.  Seeing the geraniums thrive, the owner had let him plant some rosebushes out back.

My puzzlement grew as Mr. Csomor told how year after year he’d planted a lilac bush here, a marigold border there, until the garden became the showplace it is today.  If he’d done all this…..”Then what does the head gardener do?”

Mr. Csomor pointed a stubby finger skyward.  “He makes the flowers grow.”


What do I do?

I am just an assistant.

What does the leader do?

He’s the one who makes people grow.


I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.

John 15:1

Ready to Conquer?

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Me:  Prodigal, that bee looks ready to fight!


Prodigal:  Well he is a killer bee!


Me:  Well let me give you some encouragement on conquering all that God has for you.


Today this comes for the book Believing God by Beth Moore


The children of Israel showed they were God’s conquerors on earth by conquering.  Victory always assumes a counterpart defeat.  We will never take our places as “more than overcomers” with nothing to overcome.  We will never be victors without opponents.  As we will continue to see in our journey, God gave the Israelite’s the Promised Land but told them they’d have to take what was theirs in fierce battle.  Why?  Probably one reason was so they’d develop the strength to keep it once they conquered it.  Surely another was to let them experience the thrill of victory that only a battle hard fought can bring.  In God’s economy, much of what is worth having is proved worth fighting for.


You are worth fighting for and that is why God is doing all this.  He is doing it for you and God will not lose.


Psalm 115:3

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.


Jennifer Van Allen


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Prodigal:   HA,HA, HA, SNORT,HA,HA


Me:  Prodigal, what is so funny…and just for the record.  I did hear that snort that came out with your laugh.


Prodigal:  I was running and I just thought I could side step this obstacle, but I forgot my jump is not that high and I landed right on my hind parts flat on my back in this hole.


Me:  So……why are you laughing then…


Prodigal:  Sometimes you just have to look around and laugh my friend…


Me:  Good advice it reminds me of something I read in Steps to Walking By Faith, Not By Sight Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild.


Archbishop Edward McCarthy once said that the ability to laugh at ourselves is a sign of maturity in the faith.

Why is it, then, that many of us find it so hard to laugh at ourselves?  I think there are a couple of reasons.  One is that we tend to take ourselves too seriously.  Another is that we tend to give more weight to others’ opinions of us than we do to what God thinks of us.  Both things rob us of the humility that allows us to laugh when we feel humiliated.

Yep, you made a mistake.  Yep, people saw it.  Yep, God saw it.  Guess what join the rest of us.  God can figure out how to work around it.  Surrender this to Him and maybe just laugh at it all.  It will at least release some tension.

Jeremiah 23:23

Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?


Jennifer Van Allen




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Me:  Is that a message for me Prodigal?

Prodigal:  Yep,  It has been serious and busy.  We need to factor in fun time!

Me:  Well start thinking of what you want to do and I will share with you what I have been reading?


James P. Gills, M.D. writes in his book Overcoming Spiritual Blindness


You receive a logos from God’s Word.  Logos is a Greek word referring to a concept or idea.  We learn by receiving a logos, or godly idea, which may teach us a general principle for living a godly life.  A person seeking wisdom and faith will try to apply that principle to his own life.

In contrast, when one’s heart is entirely open to God and His voice, revelation through rhems–a living Word from the Spirit that gives us spiritual understanding–can be detected even above the din of life in the world.  A rhema gives us instruction in a specific godly principle with a specific application.  Once the heart is receptive to the Spirit’s rhema, God speaks to us personally—our needs, questions, and fears–from His Word.  While it is an experience that is individual and therefore difficult to explain or express, it comes as a result of being immersed in God, and growing as new creations in Christ.

Isaiah 30:27

Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy; his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire;


Jennifer Van Allen

Selfless or Selfish

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Me:  What are you doing Prodigal?


Prodigal:  I wanted to feed the fish they looked hungry.  I was trying to be nice.


Me:  That was very nice of you Prodigal!  That was a selfless act on your part.  Let me share with you from the book The Prayerful Spirit by James Gills


The reason for our salvation is not be be saved from out problems but to be saved from our selfishness.  Selfishness is more than behavior.  When we’re selfish, we focus on our own wants and needs.  When we’re selfless, we ‘re inclined to God.  It’s the selfish who demand, and they’re miserable.  It’s the selfless who give, and they become close to Christ.  The selfish keep wondering what the selfless are talking about, for they never understand.


I know that I can be very selfish.  It doesn’t take much time before I am focusing on me.  God I need this for me.  I need it as a reminder to be inclined to you.  It is when I am selfless and doing what God wants me to do that I have peace and joy.  That is what I want today.


But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Isaiah 59:2


Jennifer Van Allen