Reverse Your Anger

05-03-15 115


Me:  Prodigal, are you lying in hot coals?


Prodigal:  NO…this is actually salt.  I am trying to grab some of it so that I can grind it and cook with it.


Me:  Sorry, I was just reading a verse about hot coals and I guess it was on my mind.


Prodigal:  Why don’t you share with me what you were reading.


Dr. David Jeremiah in his book Slaying the Giants In Your Life talks about this verse


If someone makes us angry, we offer love in return.  If someone threatens harm, we feel compassion for the forces that made him or her that way.  Instead of retaliation, we offer redemption.  Romans 12:20 says, “If our enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

I decided to get to the bottom of this passage, and what I discovered fascinated me.  I found out about an old Egyptian custom.  A person committed some kind of misdeed, and he felt the need to express his shame and contrition.  To show everyone the burning shame within his heart, this person would place a pan of hot coals on his head.

That’s the actual background of this misunderstood New Testament passage.  If someone wrongs you in some way, see what happens when you return right for wrong.  The other person’s shame becomes as visible as a pan of hot coals sizzling on his head.

I know what you are saying and you think this makes no sense at all.  How is this suppose to help me if I just let someone hurt me and take advantage of me?  I can tell you that God has called me to do this when others set out to come against me in anger.

I was not filled with joy the moment God told me to do this.  I wanted revenge.  I wanted someone to hurt like, it hurt me.  What I did not understand was that this was not about me.  It was about something bigger.  It was about God’s plan to perfect all of us as we journeyed toward Him.  Praise God that I listened to Him, and I did not feed into an emotion of revenge.  Something beautiful came out of hurt and that is more precious and joyful then any revenge!


Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


Jennifer Van Allen



You Are Acceptable

05-21-16 003


Me:  Howdy Prodigal!


Prodigal:  I have been waiting for you, what do you have to encourage me today?


Me:  Let me share from a book I have been reading.


Tim Chester in the book You Can Change writes the following


We want to justify ourselves–to demonstrate we’re worthy of God or respectable in the eyes of other people.  But we’re justified only through faith in what Christ has done.  When you feel the desire to prove yourself, remember you’re right with God in Christ.  You can’t do anything to make yourself more acceptable to God than you already are.  You don’t need to worry whether people are impressed by you because you’re already justified or vindicated by God.  And what makes you feel good is not what you’ve done, but what Christ has done for you.  Your identity isn’t dependent on your change.  You’re a child of the heavenly King.


Guess what?

You are reading something that was written by a daughter of God who:

Has sinned and hurt others…

Has sinned and hurt herself in the process….

Has chosen disobedience instead of obedience….

Has not always loved God’s people the way they should be loved…

Has followed the temptations of the world that made God weep…

Has remained silent instead of speaking up to witness God’s power and love…

Has received the constant love and faithfulness of God who has never left her one second during all this…..


Isaiah 40:31

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;  they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.


Jennifer Van Allen














To The Moon

05-28-15 044


Me:  I like that door with the moon!


Prodigal:  Yeah, I do to and that is why I came over to take a look.


Me:  God was encouraging me with the moon the other day.


Prodigal:  How was he doing that?


I was standing outside with friends on a Saturday night.  There was a fire going to make some smores and I already had two.  I had to set myself a limit.  Y’all know it is so easy to get carried away with smores!  We were waiting for fireworks that were suppose to start at any minute.

There was a loud noise and they had started and in the sky was bright beautiful colors right there in front of me.  They were one right after another always delighting the eye in something different.   My focus turned toward watching the fireworks and then I notice to the left was the moon and it was a full moon.  As I gazed upon it hanging in the night sky, I saw that it really made it a wonderful night next to the fireworks.

I starting thinking, the picture should be captured by a camera but I knew it would not capture the feeling of seeing it in front of me.  Then I stopped as I started to look at the moon again.  I thought.  Wow, here are the fireworks, man’s creation and here is the moon God’s creation.

The fireworks continued and then the final came and it was over.  Those fireworks cost a lot of money.  A lot of people helped make them, set them up and then deliver the show.  It was nice, but then I looked at the moon again.  It was always there, very consistent.  The moon’s show was not over.

The moon has been given us a  show for thousands of years.  Abraham of the Bible looked upon the moon.  Jesus looked upon the moon when he was on earth.  Then the thought grew bright in my mind.  That is the difference between building our lives upon God’s foundation and man’s foundation.  Man’s way may look exciting at first.  It can be entertaining but God’s foundation will stand forever.  It will not be able to be stopped and it will last.  Where is your foundation?  Is it very pretty but short lived standing on a brief firework show.  Is it long lasting unable to move like the moon.


Matthew 7:24-27

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.


Jennifer Van Allen


04-03-16 649


Me:  Prodigal, what a nice day for a walk!


Prodigal:  Yes, that is why I asked you to join me.  What have you been reading that has been of interest lately.


Me:  Above Average For God by Rachel Sinclair


The first step to walking by faith through any situation is to surrender your circumstances to the Lord.  You do this by communicating your worries and concerns as well as your wants and desires to the Lord in your intimate prayer time.

Next, you need to claim your faith in Him and pray for His will to be done in your circumstances rather than your own.  This is the point at which you have to choose to trust that His will is the better plan for your situation.

Now that you have placed your circumstances before Him and chosen His will over yours, it’s time to seek your role in His plans.  Ask God to show you what He wants you to do.  Pray for clear direction on the path you should take and guidance on decisions on the path you should take and guidance on decisions that you may need to make.  Also ask God to close doors He wants to close and open the door He wants you to walk through.  By praying in this way, you are bringing yourself in line with His will.

Finally, to walk by faith, you have to be willing to do what He calls you to do.  This means to make the right decisions in your life according to His ways, and to follow in the direction He leads you.

Choosing to live a life of obedience is another stepping stone that allows you to follow Him wherever He leads.  Without these stepping stones, it will be near impossible to walk by faith.


May your walk of faith guide you to a wonderful journey where Christ is always with you.  As people watch your journey may they encourage and support you.  As enemies of the faith discourage you along the path and disagree with you, at least they will not accuse you of being lukewarm which is worse than being cold.


Psalms 145:18-19

The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.


Jennifer Van Allen



Children’s Spiritual Development

12-30-15 164


Me:  Prodigal, are you having fun with Alyson?


Prodigal:  Yes, she is a joy to be around and just a wonderful little girl!


Me:  Today I can share for all the parents of little girls and boys or who are involved in the life of children.


Charles Swindoll in his book Parenting From Surviving to Thriving talks about some goals of parenting.


Cultivate a thirst, initiate a hunger, create an appetite for spiritual things in the lives of children of any age, as long as they are living under your roof, and do it in keeping with the way they are bent-disciplining the disobedience and the evil while affirming and encouraging the good, the artistic, the beautiful.


And then there are days you are just trying to find matching socks for them to wear and you are already five minutes late!  Keep going with the sacrifice and know that God has given you a gift!


Psalm 139:14

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well


Jennifer Van Allen

Greatest Handicap

05-20-15 004


Me:  Prodigal are you watching the lightning play tonight?


Prodigal:  Yep, we need to win this to tie up the series.  It will be a tough fight without Bishop.


Me:  Yeah, I know about the injury during the first game that he had.  Before the game starts though how about I share with you about handicaps?


Prodigal: That would be great!


Jennifer Rothschild in her book Lessons I Learned in the Dark Steps to Walking by Faith, Not by Sight


The greatest handicap you can have is for it not to be well with your soul.  To allow your circumstances to blind you to the infinite goodness of God is far more debilitating than physical darkness.  To silence the voice of God who longs to tell you of His love and forgiveness is far worse than physical deafness.  To be paralyzed by fear is far more confining than physical immobility.


I am laughing right now.  You want to know why?   Because I remember when I thought the christian life was going to be boring if I followed God and was obedient to Him.  See God always calls us at some point in our walk to Walk by Faith and Not By Sight!  This will always battle with our need to control and plan!

As you walk your faith out, others will see this in you, that you choose to walk by faith and not by sight.  You will start getting two reactions.  There are ones that are encourage themselves when they see your walk.  The second one might happen though.  These group of people try to stop your walk of faith.  So then life quickly becomes interesting with all these groups that seem to take a different stance.  So where do you go when the groups fight?  You look to the beginner of your faith!  You look to the Lord.  Don’t look at the crowds of people.  Don’t look to the circumstances.  Look down at your bible, and remember God’s love for you and his forgiveness.


Matthew 13:14-15

You will be ever hearing but never understanding:  you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  For this people’s heart has become calloused;  they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them



Jennifer Van Allen






God’s Story

11-05-15 011


Me:  Thanks for driving me around Prodigal!


Prodigal:  No problem, you encourage me so I wanted to show kindness back to you.


Me:  Well, how about a story about driving others around today?


Prodigal:  That sounds great!


Today’s story comes from Voices of the Faithful with Beth Moore


The audiocassette player in the old car was broken, but we still had a couple of music tapes and a copy of “God’s Story”, an audiotape presenting the gospel in Arabic, between the seats.  As we journeyed toward the capital city, the armed soldier with his machine gun on his lap leaned forward from the backseat and insisted that we play some music.  Our Arabic was limited, so we demonstrated the problem by placing a music tape into the player.  When the cassette did not work, he continued to insist that we try another tape.  To appease him, we put in the tape of “God’s Story.”  Imagine our surprise when the tape miraculously played!

As we traveled toward our destination, the soldier acknowledged his delight as he listened, and we prayed.  He heard Bible stories of creation, Noah and the Flood, Abraham, the Hebrew Exodus and all the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.  As we observed his facial expressions in our mirror, we were able to catch his occasional affirmative nod.  The soldier eventually placed the machine gun on the seat beside him.

When the first side finished playing and we turned the tape over the cassette player stopped working.  However, we approached our destination at the same time.  The soldier thanked us for the ride, took his machine gun and got out of the car.  We believe that God planted some seeds in this young man’s heart.


Don’t be discouraged.  If God can take a tape player that does not work and give it life to tell that soldier truth.  What else will he do today?


Luke 18:27

The things that are impossible with people are possible with God


Jennifer Van Allen

08-02-15 065


Me:  Prodigal, Did you go to church today?


Prodigal:  Sure did!  Did you go?


Me:  Yep, I wanted to share a little with what a learned today.


Sunday morning, for me is about waking up and going to go hear the Word of God.  I treasure the chance to walk in and worship God and to be able to learn and be encouraged by His Word.  For there was a time when that wasn’t in my life.  That time had no peace and joy, but lets move back to this morning and save that story for another day.

I dressed in my Sunday best and said hello to a couple of people and then sat down in the pew.  See our church believes in expository preaching.  We take a chapter in the bible and we study this word for word.  We have been in the book of Genesis.  Justin our preacher was going to preach from Chapter 40 and 41.  I had read over this the night before so I had a refresher for this morning.

This chapter is about Joseph when he was in prison.  Some of you might not know the story of Joseph so I suggest you to read it.  It is a very good story!  Joseph is one of my favorite stories. In fact just to give you some back ground on me.  Several years ago I was able to lead devotions and speak to women in women’s fellowship.  God blessed me with the chance to write with God’s guiding many devotions and then share them on a platform with about 50 women at a time.  I remember at one time I had about a month to prepare and I was going to try and share about the story of Joseph.  So for a month, I studied and prayed over this story.   I still love it to this day and I could on and on and on, but once again I am off track.  So I had an interest in this story from a personal perspective that maybe others did not have.  So Justin starts preaching in Chapter 40 1-4.

1 And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.

2 And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.

3 And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.

4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.

He suddenly points out in verse 4 that the captain of the guard was Potiphar.  The same one who’s wife had accused Joseph of rape in the previous chapter and landed him in prison.  Now I know I just showed my ignorance. I really I had not noticed that before.  So I just praised God for His Word being new everyday!

See this little insight changed a lot for me and the story of Joseph.  Now the story had a new detailed that really brought more focus into the whole picture.  See I think this points out more and more that Joseph really was following God when he was alone all those years in prison.  You want to know why I think that.  Because others response to Joseph.  Potiphar did not have Joseph put to death which was the first clue that people knew Joseph’s real character.  The second clue is that people forgot about Joseph.  Also Joseph’s response while forgotten and lied about.  There is no way someone who is not following God would respond in compassion and forgiveness after being forgotten for two years and lied about unless they were following God.  We are too selfish as people.  In our society everyone has no patience.  So how do you keep serving for two years with compassion and forgiveness?  The only answer is Joseph had to be following God.  I can imagine that Joseph got up every morning and loved God so much!  That Joseph bowed down and surrendered his life to God who was worth it.  When God had Joseph suffer and wait, Joseph counted it all joy to show the love that God had first showed Joseph.


“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Galatians 2:20

Jennifer Van Allen

Wearing Mask

07-11-15 089


Me:  I just love being outside Prodigal!


Prodigal:  Me too, why don’t you tell me about something you read today.  You always seem to find something in a book you are reading.


Me:  Well this morning, I was reading from You Can Change by Tim Chester and I will share from that.


I want to change:  I want people to be impressed by me.  We may want to fit in or win approval.  We certainly don’t want people finding out what we’re like inside.  We wear a mask to hide our real selves.  Wearing the mask can be a great strain; it’s like acting a role all the time.  But we dare not let people see us as we really are.

One of the problems with trying to prove ourselves to other people is that they set the standard.  Their standards may be ungodly, but we adopt their behavior to fit in.  Or their standards may be godly, but we’re living in obedience to people rather than in obedience to God.  Often what happens is that we settle for living like other people even when that falls short of living like Jesus.  Or we measure ourselves against other people and decide we’re more righteous.  We may point finger at others’ faults so we can feel better about ourselves.

Instead we should be comparing ourselves to Jesus, finding we fall a long way short of God’s standards and discovering that we desperately need a Savior.


God has blessed me with discernment.  One definition of discernment is “perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.”

I see who you are with no mask and I am not judging.  I see the good that God sees!


Psalm 1:6

for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish


Jennifer Van Allen

Snack Time

12-30-15 107


Me:  What are you doing?


Prodigal:  It is snack time, would you like some?


Me:  Sure thanks, for sharing and while we eat I have a story of another snack time.


Kay Bradshaw shares in the book Windows into Heaven by Stacy & Michelle Tetschner


One Saturday, I brought home some fast food for lunch.  I’m not exactly a health food nut, but I do know that french fries are not especially healthy for the body, so it is rare occasion that we indulge in that scrumptious treat.  This particular Saturday, we had french fries.

Parker, our son with Down syndrome, was about six years old at the time.  His older brothers and sisters were determined to teach him the “Look out the window!”  trick.  Over and over, they showed him that if you say in an excited voice, “Look out the window!”  the other person will turn his head and you can steal one of his fries.  When the kids thought Parker was ready for this trick, their dad walked into the room.  Everyone was excited to see Parker in action.

The anticipation was building as Dad sat down at the counter.  At the nudging of a sibling, Parker said, “Dad, look out the window!”  As was usually the case, everyone was pulling for him.  My husband turned his head and played along with Parker by looking out the window for an extra couple of seconds.  No one was prepared for what happened next.  Parker quickly placed a couple of his own french fries on his Dad’s plate.  When Dad turned his attention back, he expected to see less french fries on his plate.

To his surprise, everyone’s faces wore the emotions that Parker is so good at bringing to our family.  Instead of cheering his thievery, we were all humbled at his innocent, generous and loving spirit.  Oh, he was proud of himself for pulling off the trick his brothers and sisters had taught him.  Little did he know, he taught all of us that the most important lessons of life are learned not by looking out the window, but by looking through the spiritual picture window of this special boy.


Psalm 45:8

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.


Jennifer Van Allen