At The Cross

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Me:  That is a beautiful cross!


Prodigal:  I thought so too!


Me:  I was just reading and I found some encouraging thoughts about the cross


Charles Spurgeon in his book Joy In Christ’s Presence he talks about the cross and our sin


My heart looks back to the time when I was under a sense of sin, when I sought with all my soul to find peace but could not discover it, high or low, in any place beneath the sky.  Yet, when I saw One hanging on a tree as the Substitute for sin, then my heart “sat down under his shadow with great delight.”  I began to reason in this way:  Did Jesus suffer in my place?  Then I will not suffer punishment.  Did He bear my sin?  Then I do not bear it.  Did God accept His Son as my Substitute?  Then He will never strike me down.  Was Jesus acceptable to God as my Sacrifice?  Then what contents the Lord should certainly content me.  Consequently, I will go no farther, but I will sit down “under his shadow” and enjoy a delightful rest.


We are not under condemnation because Jesus made that atonement for our sins.  Sometimes we need to stop, breath and remember the details of the cross and what they mean in our everyday life.  I know I need to be reminded of the gospel!


John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way , and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.


Jennifer Van Allen

Basin of Water

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Me:  Prodigal, are you done?

Prodigal:  Yep I have just finished my bath.

Me:  Did you enjoy bath time with your toys and don’t think I don’t see them.

Prodigal:  Yes,  haha, we are suppose to enjoy life right?

Me:  Yes, we are and I don’t blame you for enjoying bath time.

Prodigal:  To change the subject why don’t you tell me a little about serving.

Me:  I will share a poem today.


Ruth Harms Calkin wrote this poem.

You know, Lord, how I serve You

With great emotional fervor

In the limelight.

You know how eagerly I speak for You

At a woman’s club.

You know how I effervesce when I promote

A fellowship group.

You know my genuine enthusiasm

At a Bible study.

But how would I react, I wonder

If you pointed to a basin of water

And asked me to wash the calloused feet

Of a bent and wrinkled old woman

Day after day,

Month after month,

In a room where nobody saw

And nobody knew?


Luke 10:27

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.


Jennifer Van Allen

Biblical Abuse

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Me:  Prodigal, are you going to church?


Prodigal:  Yes, but so many people have been hurt by the church and so they do not go back.


Me:  That is true I was reading about that and I wanted to share.


Growing Deep In the Christian Life by Charles Swindoll


One of the interesting (albeit tragic) facts of child abuse in our day is the fact that most parents who abuse their children were abused themselves.  I find the same is true of scriptural abuse.  My warning?  People who were abused biblically tend to abuse others bilbically.  If you happened to have been abused, how about breaking the trend?  Just face the fact that you were ripped off.  And rather than sending hate mail to your teacher of yesteryear and wasting hours of valuable time resenting what you were taught, just commit yourself to change.  Forgive him or her and pay no more attention to those old teachings.  Get away from the former error and commit yourself to God’s Word afresh and anew.  Set up a reading program so that you can begin to absorb the Scripture.  Begin to build a new respect for the Bible.  Use helpful tools as you seek a clear, careful understanding, ultimately living obediently in keeping with God’s Word.


Don’t confuse imperfect Christians with God.  Yes we are God’s people and Yes He uses us but we are not perfect!  I know there has been hurt from Christians in the past but do not give up on God’s church.  You will find hurt there sometimes but you can also find healing and a peace that is worth it all!


Job 36:2

Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.


Jennifer Van Allen

Our Hearts

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Me:  Where are you going Prodigal?


Prodigal:  I am about to go to Smithfields for some food.   Would you like to join me?  I could use the company.


Me:  Sure, as we eat I would like to share from a book that I have enjoyed reading.


Tim Chester writes in his book You Can Change


External activities can’t change us, says, Jesus, because sin comes from within, from our hearts.  Our rituals might change our behavior for a while, but they can’t change our hearts.  And so they can’t bring true and lasting holiness.  We need heart change.


God always, always looks at our hearts.  This is what is upsetting to some Christians and comforting to other Christians.  When God puts us through trials sometimes we can be confused because it doesn’t make since.  We form in our mind a perfect way of how things should be answered.  We are then shocked as we pray and seek the Lord that things seem to be going in an opposite direction.  Usually as time passes and God reveals truth to us we see that we were thinking of the external ways that belong to part of the trial.  God was looking at how to keep our hearts focused on Him and to bring about this as the most important aspect of our trial.  We are not perfect as we go through trials but even then God looks at us with compassion and grace to keep carrying us through it all.


Isaiah 29:18

In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.


Jennifer Van Allen






What Children Crave

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Me:  That is a beautiful sculpture of a child!


Prodigal:  Yes, you don’t see many children statues.  They are usually of adults.


Me:  Speaking of children.  I know there are a lot of parents that are weary right now with their own children.  Maybe I can encourage them right now.


This come from Chuck Swindoll in his book Parenting From Surviving to Thriving


Children crave well-defined, unmovable boundaries to help them make sense of the world around them.  No child wants to be his or her own authority.  It’s frightening.  It causes him or her to grow increasingly insecure, fearful, defiant, and willful.  But disciplining a child requires consistent self-discipline by the parent.  Defining and enforcing healthy boundaries for a child is the most difficult part of being a mom or dad.   No one wants to be the heavy.

Let’s face it, we’d rather have our child’s love and hugs than to have him or her view us as the enemy–even for a short time.  But if we’re willing to be the “bad guy” in order to give our child’s world order and definition, the result will be a home free of chaos, where everyone can enjoy freedom and love, acceptance and security, purpose, direction, and an authentic basis for a strong self-image.  Curb the evil bent with consistent, reasonable consequences and you will create more opportunity to engage your child’s more pleasant side.  And you’ll also find yourself receiving far more love and hugs from a child who looks to you for order and security.

Psalm 139:1-2

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you understand my thought from afar.


Jennifer Van Allen

Potential Value

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Me:  I love that bike Prodigal!


Prodigal:  I thought so too since it seemed to tell us that anything can be used to point us to Christ!


Me:  That is very true in fact I have a story I would like to share.


This is from the book Chasing My Rookie Year by Michael Clayton


I was told a story once about some kids who loved to visit the silversmith shop.  The most fascinating thing for them was the silver before it went into the fire.  The silver was black, rusty, and just ugly; nothing similar to what you might expect silver to look like.  The coal like substance would be placed into the fire and after a while, what seemed to be black coal began to change into the precious metal we know as silver.  Now, if the silversmith left the silver in the fire too long, the silver would melt and be worthless.  If he did not leave it in long enough, it would not reach its full potential value.

I know you are wondering right now, “Well, how does he know when to take the silver out ?”  I was saying the same thing when I heard the story.  He takes the silver out of the fire when he can see a reflection of himself.  Only then is it at its peak.


Jesus doesn’t see a reflection of Himself yet.  Jesus will not let you melt, keeping looking to Him!


John 7:38

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”


Jennifer Van Allen


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Me:  Howdy, Prodigal!  Are you about to eat some ice cream?


Prodigal:  I have already had two and I am trying to stop myself from having another.  I can’t put on too much weight.


Me:  The act of discipline.  Don’t we all struggle with that at times!  I was just reading about four realms of discipline to how gain depth in our spiritual lives.


Chuck Swindoll in his book Active Spirituality takes this all from Proverbs 2

  1.  The discipline of the written Word of God.  “My son, if you will receive my saying, /And treasure my commandments within you” (v.1).  It is essential that we receive God’s sayings-take them in on a regular basis and allow them to find lodging in our minds.  Few things are more astounding in our world than biblical ignorance.  People who go beneath the surface of shallow living treasure God’s truths and saturate their minds with the Scriptures.
  2. The discipline of inner desire.”Make your ear attentive to wisdom,/Incline your heart to understanding”(v.2).  If we read that correctly, we’ll need to have an attentive ear to God’s reproofs and cultivate an open heart before Him
  3. The discipline of prevailing prayer. “For if you cry for discernment,/Lift your voice for understanding”(v.3).  Perhaps the single most overlooked (and among the most difficult) discipline in the Christian life is consistent prayer.  Prevailing prayer.  Fervent prayer.  In such prayer we “cry for discernment” and we “lift our voice for understanding.”  In prayer, the sincere believer puts an end to a quick tiptoe trip through the kingdom, chattering like children running through a mall.  This person gets down to serious business.
  4. The discipline of daily consistency.  “If you seek her as silver,/ And search for her as for hidden treasures”(v.4).  We’re talking diligence and effort here!  The saying describes our seeking God’s truths as though digging for silver and searching His mind as we would pursue hidden treasures.  This is no superficial game–it’s a heavy, consistent pursuit of the living God!.
  5. And the result?  The discovery?  Then you will discern the fear of the Lord.  And discover the knowledge of God.


Proverbs 2 :9

Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course.


Jennifer Van Allen

Are Scripture Historically Correct?

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Me:  What are you standing on?


Prodigal:  This is just an artifact from this original building from over a hundred years ago.


Me:  Very nice!  I like to learn from history at times.


Prodigal:  Me too, I don’t mind hearing from the past.


Me:  Well I was just reading from a Jewish archaeologist.


Prodigal:  Please share!


Dr. Nelson Glueck a Jewish Archaeologist wrote in his book Rivers in the Desert


It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference.  Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible.  And by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.


Three hundred seventy-seven clay tablets were found belonging to the two Pharaohs who ruled in 1500-1400 B.C., which accurately described the events of the Exodus.


Science and belief in the Bible do not have to be a separate thing!


1 John 2:1-2

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.


Jennifer Van Allen,



God Will Uphold You

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Me:  Prodigal, what are you looking at?

Prodigal:  Just a map of some of the cities around this area.  Trying to decide where to go next.

Me:  I just finished reading about a missionary in South Asia and I wanted to share.  Do you mind listening?

Prodigal:  Go ahead, I would like to hear something positive.

This comes from the book Voices of the Faithful by Beth Moore

Volunteers and a missionary distributed 4,000 Bibles by walking into Muslim villages with backpacks full of the Word.  In one village, a team met “Mamoon” (mah-MOON).  They shared the gospel and left 14 Bibles, one given to Mamoon.  Then the Christian worker gave Mamoon his address.

Two weeks later, Mamoon showed up at the missionary’s house in the capital city.  Three local imams (Muslim pastors) forcibly collected 13 of the Bibles.  Before a crowd, they proclaimed that the Bibles were false.  They opened to Luke 2 and read, “Mary’s husband Joseph.”  One imam said, “We know that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to the prophet Isa.  This Bible says otherwise.”  The Bibles were burned.

The imams found the missing Bible with Mamoon.  They demanded his Bible, but Mamoon refused, saying, “Let me read it first.  If I find mistakes, I will give it to you.”  The imams petitioned Mamoon’s father, but the father said, “Give my son two days.  If he hasn’t returned it, you are free to do with him as you wish.”

Mamoon then fled to the missionary’s home.  He asked to be taught.  During Mamoon’s four months of discipleship, his mother wrote a letter advising her son not to return home because she feared for his life.

Mamoon accepted Christ and was baptized.  Not heeding warnings, he went back to his village.  There a large crowd gathered as he read Luke 2 and explained the story of the virgin birth of Isa (Jesus).

Today, a church exists in Mamoon’s village.  Two of the imams are members of this church.  Mamoon has planted another 40 churches, all among Muslims.


You never know how or when the Lord will show up to work!


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6


Jennifer Van Allen


But For God

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Me:  Howdy Prodigal!  Pretty today.


Prodigal:  Yes, and I am just thinking over the past six months.


Me:  What are you thinking about?


Prodigal:  I am thinking about all that has happened and how God had it all figured out all along!


Me:  Good point!  I want to share with you some more encouraging words from the book But For God by Debra Evans

But for God, even when we can’t see the end.

But for God, even when it doesn’t make sense.

But for God, even when our own mistakes have left us in emotional defeat.

But for God, even when we see no hope for our future.

In all these things God has already made our provision, if we don’t give up and don’t give in to sin or despair.  We can only experience the joy of the Lord and the true happiness He intends for us when we learn to say “But for God,”  and then believe that God is enough.


Is God really enough?  That is what God is trying to show you.  Trust me, when you come to a place where God is really enough, you receive peace and freedom!


Jennifer Van Allen