Time to Wash Up

12-30-15 106


Prodigal:  Howdy!  I am just washing up and then I will be with you.


Me:  Take your time.  I just finished reading from the book A Woman of Strength Reclaim Your Past, Seize Your Present, Secure Your Future by Neva Coyle.  It talks about allowing Jesus to clean our souls.


Prodigal:  Well, I have never thought of that idea, why don’t you share.


The cleansed Christian–purged of all self-interest, self-glory, self-pity, self-protection–is of great value to God.  Yet there is a maturity beyond this, eloquent in some by its presence, but conspicuous in others by its absence.  A head stuffed with theology or even stuffed with Bible verses is no substitute for the deep things of God worked out in us by the Spirit.

Regeneration is a birth; sanctification, on the other hand, is a death….we want to go to the cross, but few want to get on the cross.  We want Christ to die for us, but we do not want to die with Him.  Christianity is all right if I can use it to my own ends.  But when Christ wants to purge my squirming ego, crucify my stubborn self-will, eliminate my reeking self-pity, vanquish my vacillation, and reign supreme within the heart that he has purged–that is another matter.

Let the Christian’s self-will be put to death by being crucified with Christ.  Then by God’s given grace, let him abide in Christ.  This puts a Christian on the road to victory.


Lord I do not want to seek my own way today.  I want to follow you!  I want your name to be above other names including my own!  O God, the one who has never left me even when I deserved it please guide me with your wisdom today!


Psalm 62:7

On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.


Jennifer Van Allen





Salvation Does Not Require Dedication

12-30-15 149


Prodigal:  I have been spending some times with some other Christians and I am confused.


Me:  What are you confused about Prodigal?


Prodigal:  They all have a story of salvation but some tend to dedicate their lives to God and others are focused on themselves.


Me:  Yeah, I have noticed that also myself.  Let me have someone who is smarter than me explain this for you.  Bruce Wilkinson in his book Set Apart Discovering Personal Victory Through Holiness.


God is very clear–salvation does not exist except through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  What must you do in addition to genuinely believing in Christ?  Must you consecrate yourself to Him in any way in order to be saved?  No.  The Bible is clear:  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31)

Belief in a person and devotion to that person are different things.  I can believe in a person without devotion my life to him.  Although I have heard and read many arguments in favor of adding things to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,”  the Bible teaches that nothing will save anyone except genuine faith in Christ.  Adding any other condition is unbiblical.

Consecration occurs when a Christian decides of his own free will to dedicate himself to Christ in a deep and meaningful way; but consecration is not required in order to experience salvation.  In fact, because Romans 12:1  was written to Christian who had been saved any where from days to more than twenty years, clearly an extensive period of time may pass between the decision to trust Christ as Savior and the later decision to devote oneself totally to God.  Or it may never occur!  Paul does not warn that believers will lose their salvation if they never dedicate their lives to the Lord.


I was saved in middle school.  I did not start dedicating my life to the Lord in a meaningful way until I was in my late 20’s.  Since I have dedicated my life to the Lord.  God has showed up in many different ways and my life is so far from boring.  It also is not easy at times.  The joy and peace that I have though are worth the struggles and the people I have met along the way are VERY much worth following God.  To those who God has put in my path.  I do not thank you enough for your support and I do appreciate everyone of you!  May this day be a day that you know that you have made a difference in at least one person’s life and that one is mine!


Exodus 19:5-6

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.  And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”


Jennifer Van Allen




Tight Corner

12-30-15 113


Me:  Prodigal, you have yourself in a tight corner!


Prodigal:  Yep, I thought I knew the way and now look.


Me:  Well, it is when we come to the end of ourselves that we can maybe finally look in the right direction.


Charles Spurgeon in his book Joy in Christ’s Presence discusses tight corner’s


Oh, the mercy that comes with utter self-despair!  I love to see a soul driven into a tight corner and forced to look to God alone.  The end of the creature is the beginning of the Creator.  Where the sinner ends, the Savior begins.


I once was lost but now I am found.  I once was blind but now I see.  Many of you may know those verses in Amazing Grace which is my favorite hymn.  Those are my favorite verses in the hymn.  See I was in a tight corner driven there by ME.  I was leading myself as I was blind and lost.  That is how you end up in a tight corner.  Then I was forced to look upon God.  The result of looking up.

I am found and now I see.  How precious is that sight after being blind!  We should never forget our our time of blindness and our time of being lost.  For if we do, we forget the joy of our being found!


to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’  Acts 26:18


Jennifer Van Allen



Troubles and More Troubles

11-05-15 028


Prodigal:  OUCH!  That hurts!


Me:  PRODIGAL!  What are you doing in there?


Prodigal:  I am getting burnt by this dragon and it is not fun and I am HURT!


Me:  Prodigal:  It may take awhile to get you away from that dragon.  This looks like a heap of a mess.  I will share with you about troubles while we talk.


Neva Coyle shares in her book A Woman Of Strength Reclaim Your Past, Seize Your Present, Secure Your Future.


The struggles I have experienced have brought out my bad attitudes, unforgiveness, selfishness, and pride.  The pain of those struggles has caused me to seek Christ at a deeper level.  These struggles have drawn me closer to his Word and to his principles for living.  Yes, my problems have often been the very thing that has given me more compassion, patience, and tolerance with others who are struggling.  But even more, troubles have often put me in closer touch with God than ever before.


It is only by looking back  after we have committed to being obedient to the Lord can we truly see how God put these struggles in our path to grow us and also bring us closer to Him.

Yes, we did not lean on him a hundred percent of the time.

Yes, we gave into our negative emotions some of the time.

Yes, we lost our way a couple of times.

That only showed us how faithful God was and only showed us how much God really cares!


Isaiah 26:8-9

In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.  My soul yearns for you  in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.  For when your judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.



Jennifer Van Allen




Good Day

08-02-15 016

Me:  Are you eating?

Prodigal:  Yep, I am eating good food so it is a good day!

Me:  While you eat then I will share with you from what I am reading.


This comes from the book You Can Change by Tim Chester

He is quoting Ed Welch.

“In our hearts we are always actively worshipping, trusting, desiring, following, loving, or serving something or somebody.  When scripture speaks of the heart, it typically is emphasizing that we live before God, in all things and at all times.  We respond to him either by trusting in him or trusting in our self-serving idols.

These spiritual allegiance of the heart are sometimes hidden, but like the quality of fruit on a tree, the heart will eventually reveal itself in word and deed (Luke 6:43-45).  Any violation of God’s law is an expression of the heart, as is faith and obedience.  Our emotions are also, more often than not, animated by the orientation of our hearts.  When our worship is true, we experience joy, peace, love , and hope, even in difficult situations.  When our worship is false, and things we desire are unattainable or impotent, we can be grieved, bitter, depressed, angry, or fearful.  Our emotions usually mean something, and it is wise to ask, “What are my emotions saying?”  What are they pointing to?”

So Tim concludes with

–trust God instead of believing lies=faith.

–worship God instead of worshipping idols=repentance

1 Peter  5:5-14

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder, Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothes with humility:  for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  To him by glory and dominion for ever and every.  Amen.  By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.  The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.  Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity.  Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen


Jennifer Van Allen



Santa Claus

12-30-15 190


Me:  Are you trying to look into your Christmas stocking Prodigal?


Prodigal:  No I was actually putting something in the Christmas stocking.


Me:  Does Santa do that?


Prodigal:  No, I don’t believe in Santa.


Me:  I was just reading about believe in Santa in the book Beyond Opinion Living The Faith We Defend by Ravi Zacharias


Faith is infantile, Dawkins tell us.  It can only survive by being crammed into the minds of impressionable young children.  We’ve grown up now, and we need to move on.  Why should we believe things that can’t be scientifically proved?  Faith in God, Dawkins argues, is just like believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.  When you grow up, you grow out of it.

This is actually a rather childish argument that seems to have found its way into what is meant to be an adult discussion.  It is amateurish and unconvincing.  There is no serious empirical evidence that people regard God, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy as being the same category.  I stopped believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy when I was about six years old.  After being an atheist for some years, I discovered God when I was eighteen and have never regarded this as some kind of infantile regression.  As I noticed while researching my book The Twilight of Atheism, a large number of people come to believe in God in later life–when they are grown up.  I have yet to meet anyone who came to believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy late in life.


Proverbs 21:2

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.


Jennifer Van Allen






A Lifestyle of Surrender

05-28-15 015


Me:  What a nice day!


Prodigal:  That is why I am spending it outside and trying to relax.  Why don’t you share with me from the most recent book you have read?


James P Gills M.D. writes in his book The Prayerful Spirit.


One of the most important changes in our lives is our surrender of ourselves to God.  A surrendered life is necessary to walking more deeply with Christ and to welcoming the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  The surrendered life separates those whose desires are for what God wants from those who have their own agendas.


God knows our hearts and no matter how we try, we cannot hide those selfish agendas from God.  That is something that I have learned to love about God and treasure it.  I know that when my heart becomes selfish and I want to pursue my own agenda then God will only let me go so far when he suddenly changes things to turn me around.  At first this can hurt our pride and we can get upset with God but soon if we keep following his guiding then we learn to see that he keeps us from hurting ourselves further by entertaining sin to long.  So God seems to be telling you not go in that direction.  This is a good thing because at this time you cannot see how this is tied into man’s selfish agenda and not God’s plan for your life.


Hebrews 13:5-6

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper;  I will not fear; what can man do to me?”


Jennifer Van Allen



Denial of Accountability

04-03-16 032


Me:  Are you standing on Asia Prodigal?


Prodigal:  Yeah just look at this map of the world.  Thinking about different parts of the world.


Me:  I can share from a Polish writer today.


The Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, has an interesting point to make here.  Having found himself intellectually bullied and politically silenced, first under Nazism and then under Stalinism, Milosz had no doubt as to the ultimate source of despair and tyranny in the twentieth century.  In a remarkable essay entitled ”  The Discreet Charm of Nihilism,”  he pointed out that it was not religion, but its denial -above all, the denial of accountability in the sight of God–that lay at the root of the century’s oppressive totalitarianism.

Religion, opium for the people!  To those suffering pain, humiliation, illness, and serfdom, it promised a reward in afterlife.  And now we are witnessing a transformation.  A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death, the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders we are not going to be judged.  The Marxist creed has now been inverted.  The true opium of modernity is the belief that there is no God, so that humans are free to do precisely as they please.


Matthew 6:23

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.  If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!


Jennifer Van Allen





Christian Community

12-30-15 088

Me:  Prodigal, you are with a whole group today!


Prodigal:  Yep, I am listening to them while they play Amazing Grace!


Me:  Love that song!


Prodigal:  They did a great job, but if you wanted to share we can take a break


Me:  I wanted to share about community and something that was written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


“There arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be the greatest” (Luke 9:46).  We know who it is that sows this thought in the Christian community.  But perhaps we do not bear in mind enough that no Christian community ever comes together without this thought immediately emerging as a seed of discord.  Thus at the very beginning of Christian fellowship there is engendered an invisible, often unconscious, life-and-death contest.  “There arose a reasoning among them”:  this is enough to destroy a fellowship.

Hence it is vitally necessary that every Christian community from the very outset face this dangerous enemy squarely, and eradicate it.  There is not time to lose here, for from the first moment when a man meets another person he is looking for a strategic position he can assume and hold over against that person.  There are strong persons and weak ones.  If a man is not strong, he immediately claims the right of the weak as his own and uses it against the strong.  There are gifted and un gifted persons, simple people and difficult people, devout and less devout, the sociable and the solitary.  Does not the un gifted person have to take up a position just as well as the gifted person, the difficult one as well as the simple?  And if I am not gifted, then perhaps I am devout anyhow; or if I am not devout it is only because I do not want to be.  May not the sociable individual carry the field before him and put the timid, solitary man to shame?  Then may not the solitary person become the undying enemy and ultimate vanquisher of his sociable adversary?  Where is there a person who does not with instinctive sureness find the spot where he can stand and defend himself, but which he will never give up to another, for which he will fight with all the drive of his instinct of self-assertion?

All this can occur in the most polite of even pious environment.  But the important thing is that a Christian community should know that somewhere in it there will certainly be “a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.”  It is the struggle of the natural man for self-justification.  He finds it only in comparing himself with others, in condemning and judging others….

(When the Christian community eradicates this enemy,) strong and weak, wise and foolish, gifted or un gifted, pious or impious, the diverse individuals in the community, are no longer incentives for talking and judging and condemning, and thus excuses for self-justification.  They are rather cause for rejoicing in one another and serving one another.


I am weak, therefore I look to Jesus

I have no gifts in the flesh therefore, I turn to Jesus

I am foolish in my plans, therefore, I turn to Jesus

Therefore Jesus turns to me and shows me what a gift you are in my life!  How precious I am to have you!

Therefore Jesus turns to me and reminds me to serve you today and that I will try to do.


Matthew 5:41

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two.


Jennifer Van Allen,






Chronic Worry

05-21-16 166


Me:  What wrong you looked worried?

Prodigal:  I am waiting to hear from the director.

Me:  I know that can be stressful to wait for a phone call, but you don’t have to spend your whole time worrying.


Dr. James P. Gills writes the following


Chronic worry creates destructive anxiety and stress in our lives.  It destroys our relationships with God and other people.  When we embrace the negative mind-set of worry, we accuse others, judge others, discourage others and try to control others.  We’re negative people who don’t feel God’s love and can’t love others.  But when we have a thankful spirit, God’s peace and love fill our lives.


I know you want to worry, but this is not a season of worry.  This is a time to rest and allow God to work around you.  Let your life be filled with the peace of God.


Titus 3:4

But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.


Jennifer Van Allen