Analyze Your Options

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Me:  Prodigal you look angry right now!

Prodigal:  I am and I have been hurt.  I probably need a little bit of encouragement.

Me:  I was just reading about anger so I will share what I was reading.

This comes from the book The Other Side of Love by Gary Chapman


What then are the Christian’s options?  As I see it, there are only two.  One is to lovingly confront the person.  The other is to consciously decide to over look the matter.  Let’s look at the second option first.  There are times when the best Christian option is to admit that I have been wronged but to conclude that confronting the person who did the wrong holds little or no redemptive value.  Therefore, I choose to accept the wrong and commit the person to God.  This is not the same as stuffing or storing your anger.  It is quite the opposite.  It is releasing the anger to God.  It is giving up the right to take revenge, which, according to Scripture, is always God’s prerogative (Romans 12:19), and it is refusing to let what has happened eat away at your own sense of well being.  You are making a conscious choice to overlook the offense.

This is what the Bible calls forbearance, and it’s turning the matter of justice over to God, knowing that He is totally aware of the situation.  Thus, God can do to the individual whatever He judges to be wise.  You are choosing not to be an emotional captive to the wrong that was perpetrated against you.


People what emotions they bring in us.  I am talking about the ones that are frustrating us, I am not talking about the ones we love.  The ones we see on a weekly basis.  The ones that challenge us.  It might be hard to let go of the control of wanting to release this person to God.  It may be difficult to allow God to judge.  I know your emotions are strong right now.  I know that this is a sensitive subject.  I also know that God can really reached this person’s heart.  This person can change from acting like a Saul to a Paul.  So even if you have to pray all day long, then I think you know at this moment you need to just release them to God.


Daniel 2:19-23

Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night.  Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.  Daniel answered and said:  “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.  He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings;  he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.  To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”


Jennifer Van Allen

My Burden is Light

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Me:  Isn’t that swan beautiful!

Prodigal:  Yes, but actually I am jealous of her beauty.  I mean nobody ever comments on the looks of a pig.

Me:  Yes, that is true but you have a different purpose then that swan.

Prodigal:  Maybe you can encourage me in that area.


I was reading from Lysa Terkeurst in her book Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl.


When I compare myself to others and focus on wanting what they have, it quite simply wears me out trying to figure out how to have more, be more, do more.  That’s why Jesus instructs wornout people, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Note a couple key words in these verses.  A “yoke” is a wooden frame used to harness two draft animals to whatever they have to pull.  The Greek word for “easy” can also mean “well-fitted.”  Combine this information together and it appears that Jesus is saying He has equipped each of us with well-fitted assignments in life.  As long as we do and aspire to only what He calls us, our burden will not only be manageable, it will be light.

It’s also interesting to note that when an animal is in training, a farmer will often put it in a head yoke rather than a neck yoke to keep the animal from looking around and getting anxious. 


You have been praying and you feel worn out.  So what is this all about.  See God has called you to this task.  That much has been shown to you over and over again.  The part where you have gotten off track is that you are trying to take on more than you should at this time.  We have others to lighten the load.  We have others to support us.  Don’t focus too much on the whole picture, because that is overwhelming.  It is time to just focus on your little part and then it will not be such a burden.


But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.  When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.  When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go and the LORD be with you.”

1 Samuel 17:34-37


Jennifer Van Allen

His Mission

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Me:  Look at all those tasty treats!

Prodigal:  Yes, there are different ones to choose from but they all look tasty.

Me:  I might need a minute to figure out which one I am going to get.

Prodigal:  Lets sit over there while we decide.


Today I am sharing about Unity.  Charles Swindoll describes it best in his book Hope Again When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade.


The first checkpoint is unity:  “Let all be harmonious.”  This refers to a oneness of heart, a similarity of purpose, and an agreement on major points of doctrine.

Please remember, this quality is not the same as uniformity, where everyone must look alike and think alike, form identical convictions and prefer the same tastes.  That’s what I call a cracker-box mentality.  Peter isn’t promoting uniformity.  Nor is he referring to unanimity, where there is a 100 percent agreement on everything.  And it is not the same as union, where there is an affiliation with others but no common bond that makes them one at heart.

The secret to this kind of harmony is not to focus on petty peripheral differences but to concentrate on the common ground of Jesus Christ–His model, His message, and His mission.


I am not better than anyone else.  In fact I need a lot of help in ways that you are different then me.  I have a friend who is dear to me and she likes to make things perfect.  I think we work well together.  She makes sure I don’t miss any of the details that I would overlook and I make sure that she does not spend to long on a project trying to make it be beyond perfect.  If we were the same then we would not appreciate this difference and enjoy the benefits of this difference.  Where we are the same though is that she loves Jesus and believes in His mission and so do I. So friend will you join me in the wonderful mission of Christ and display His glory to others?


Acts 4:12

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.


Jennifer Van Allen

All That God Made


Me:  Howdy Prodigal, what are you doing?

Prodigal:  I am looking at all that God has made.

Me:  Its amazing isn’t it?

Prodigal:  Yes, it is.


Dr. James Gills writes in his book Exceeding Gratitude for the Creator’s Plan.

To a scientific materialist, there can be no nonmaterial intelligence that created the first life or guided its development into complex form, and no reality such as the supernatural.  Dr. Michael Behe, early in his scientific career, began to question this scientific naturalist philosophy, which states that everything real has a material basis and that all teleological conceptions of nature–“we are here for a purpose”–are invalid.

On a break with a colleague, Behe posed the question:  “If the first life did arise by random naturalistic processes from a chemical soup, as all textbooks are saying, what exactly are the minimum systems that are required for life?”  Together they ticked off a mental list of the minimum requirements:  a functioning membrane, a system to build the DNA units, a system to control the copying of DNA, and a system for energy processing.  Suddenly, they broke off their speculation, looked at each other, and smiled, jointly muttering, “Naah–too many systems; it couldn’t have happened by chance.”


Having faith doesn’t mean you are un intelligent.


Psalm 139:13-14

For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.


Jennifer Van Allen

He that is without sin among you

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Me:  What does that stone say Prodigal?

Prodigal:  He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her

Me:  That is very good scripture there, Prodigal!

Prodigal:  What parable is connected with that?


Today I will share this scripture explained by Peter Marshall


…The woman lies before Christ in a huddled heap, sobbing bitterly…..

shivering as she listens to the indictment.

The penalty for adultery is stoning.

Jesus’ steady eyes take in the situation at a glance.

He sees what they try to hide from Him—

the hard faces that have no mercy or pity.

Every hand holds a stone and clutching fingers run along the sharp edges with malicious satisfaction.

They have brought the woman to Christ as a vindictive afterthought, not for formal trial,

(for they have already tried her)

but in a bold effort to trap Him.

Either He will have to set aside the plain commandment

of the law, or tacitly consent to a public execution….

And has He not said often, “Be ye therefore merciful”

How can he condemn the woman and still be merciful?

The circle of bearded men wait impatiently for His answer….

Christ looks into the faces of the men before Him, and steadily–with eyes that never blink–he speaks them:

“He that is without sin among you,

let him first cast a stone at her.”

His keen glance rests upon the woman’s accusers one by one….

There is the thud of stone after stone falling on the pavement.

Not many of the Pharisees are left now.

Looking into their faces Christ sees into the yesterdays that lie deep in the pools of memory and conscience.

He sees into their very hearts…






One by one, they creep away–like animals–slinking into the shadows…

Shuffling off into the crowded streets to lose themselves in the multitudes.

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.”

But no stones have been thrown.

They lie around the woman on the pavement.

She alone is left at the feet of Christ.

The stillness is broken only by her sobbing.

She still has not lifted her head….

And now Christ looks at her.

He does not speak for a long moment.

Then, with eyes full of understanding, He says softly:

“Woman, where are those thine accusers?

Hath no man condemned thee?”

And she answers,

“No man, Lord.”

That is all the woman says from beginning to end.

She has no excuse for her conduct.

She makes no attempt to justify what she has done.

And Christ looking at her, seeing the tear-stained cheeks,

seeing further into her heart,

seeing the contrition there,

says to her, “Neither do I condemn thee:

go, and sin no more….”

And His voice is like a candle at twilight,

like a soft angels at the close of the day…..

like the singing of a bird after the storm…

It is healing music for the sin-sick heart.

All is quiet for a while.

If she breathes her gratitude, it is so soft that only

He hears it.

Perhaps He smiles upon her, as she slowly raises her eyes,

a slow, sad smile of one who knows that He Himself

has to pay the price for that absolution…..

She has looked into the eyes of Christ.

She has seen God.

She has been accused


judged but not condemned.

She has been forgiven!

And now her head is up.

Her eyes are shining like stars, for has she not seen

the greatest miracle of all?

It is more wonderful than the miracles of creation….

more mysterious than the stars…

more melodious than any symphony….

more wonderful than life itself….

that God is willing, for Christ’s sake, to forgive sinners

like you and me….



John 8:7

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.


Jennifer Van Allen



Your Discernment

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Me:  Does that sign say they are offering free beer?

Prodigal:  While you have to look closer, because they are not offering free beer.  They are just trying to get you to come inside.

Me:  Sometimes we all need discernment in our lives.

Charles Swindoll talks about discernment in his book Abraham


Discernment is “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure; a power to see what is not evident to the average mind.”  When life is a blur, we miss all the details that make living worthwile.  Without discernment, we see without observing, we hear without listening, and life becomes a series of experiences without meaning.  We are awash in random scenes that do not tell a story.  Without discernment, we are, in the words of William Irwin Thompson, “likes flies crawling across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel:  We cannot see what angels and gods lie beneath the threshold of our perceptions.  We do not live in reality; we live in our paradigms, our habituated perceptions, our illusions; the illusions we share through culture we call reality, but true historical reality of our condition is invisible to us.

Grow deep in your relationship with God, and you will begin to discern people and, therefore, enjoy a depth in your relationships like never before.  You will understand yourself, including your own motivations and flaws, and as you allow the Lord to address them, you will live more sensibly–you will experience more joy and less drama.  You’ll understand a number of things that are currently mysteries to you.


Yes we are called to love one another but we are not called to trust every thing said and every one.  We know that we all sin and we are all imperfect.  If that is the case then sometimes I may have a good heart but because I do not have the wisdom of God in all things there is no way I can know what to say and do in everybody’s lives unless is comes from the Lord.  There has been plenty of “good advice”  that comes from people that have lead people away from the path of their calling instead of listening to the Holy Spirit and meditating over God’s word.  Maybe this week is a time to seek God and His word so that you can have true discernment over your life.


When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Psalm 27:8


Jennifer Van Allen



God is Great

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Me:  What are you doing?

Prodigal:  I am traveling around the earth!

Me:  I have some more fun facts about the earth.


This is from the book You Can Change by Tim Chester


Traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles a second), you would encircle the earth seven times in one second and pass the moon in two seconds.  At this speed it would take you 4.3 years to reach our nearest star and 100,000 years to cross our galaxy.  There are thought to be at least 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe.  It would take 2,000,000 light-years to reach the next closest galaxy and 20,000,000 to reach the next cluster of galaxies.  And you have still just only begun to explore the universe.

All this was created when our God simply spoke a word.  In fact, Isaiah tells us that he marked off the heavens with the breadth of his hand (Isaiah 40:12).


Sometimes we needed to be reminded just how small we are and just how big God is.  Now spend your time with God today and keep in mind just how big He is.

Psalm 34:11

Come, ye children, hearken unto me:  I will teach you the fear of the Lord.


Jennifer Van Allen


Flying Fortress

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Me:  Those birds are pretty in flight!

Prodigal:  They are.  I was just admiring the work of someone who tried to capture the beauty of birds in flight.

Me:Today  I want to share a story from the book The Fall of Fortresses by Elmer Bendiner


In his book, The Fall of Fortresses, author Elmer Bendiner tells the remarkable story of a B-17 Flying Fortress that flew a bombing mission over Germany toward the end of World War II.  The bomber took several direct hits from Nazi antiaircraft guns; a few actually hit the fuel tank.  Miraculously, the crippled aircraft made it back without exploding or running out of fuel.

After landing, eleven unexploded twenty millimeter shells were carefully removed from the bomber’s fuel tank!  Each was dismantled and examined.  To everyone’s amazement, all eleven were empty of explosive material.  Why?  How could it be?  Why would the enemy fire empty shells?  The mystery was solved when a small note was found inside one of the shells, handwritten in Czech.  Translated, it read, “This is all we can do for you now.”


Someone had taken a risk that day to try to help out those that were fighting against the Nazi army.  You may feel that the small ways you are fighting the enemy in this spiritual war mean nothing but never forget that God can use the smallest fish to feed thousands!


Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8


Jennifer Van Allen

Time to Take That Chance



Me:  Howdy Prodigal!  You look deep in thought….


Prodigal:  I am deep in thought, thinking about taking chances and stepping out in a new direction.


Me:  I have some insight that I can share with you about direction.


Prodigal:  I could use some of it in a time like this.


James Gills M.D. writes in his book The Unseen Essential.

There comes a time, though, when we have to take that chance.  When God calls us to step out and trust Him and to place ourselves back on the potter’s wheel for refashioning, people may laugh and point.  Or criticize.  Unless God has already led them through that stage, they won’t understand something, tend to put it down or make fun of it.  At best, they avoid it. 

Don’t worry I understand and I am here to encourage you.  I know that this is a big step in trusting God but following God sometimes requires big steps!


Psalms 119:10

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!


Jennifer Van Allen


When I Saw the Cross


Me:  Nice ride Prodigal!

Prodigal:  It is my friend’s

Me:  Well your friend doesn’t come to town ridin two to a mule.

Prodigal:  No, they have enough money to spend on some toys.

Me:  Before you go riding I will share a story


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


God has been so gracious to us by giving us a beautiful place to live in a 77-acre coffee plantation.

One day, Caleb, our 8 year old son, and three of his friends went exploring through the coffee plants.  When they were ready to come home, they were not sure which way to go.  They decided to go up one of the hills, but they still could not see the house.  Then Caleb had the idea of climbing tress in order to see farther.  After climbing several trees along the way, he yelled out to his friends, “I see the cross!”

In hopes of having a good harvest each year, our landlord had constructed a large white cross on one of the hills near our house because he believed that Mary, Jesus and God would bless his efforts.  So when Caleb saw the cross, he knew which direction to head.  When he retold the story, he commented that when he was up in the tree and saw the cross, he knew that the was home.

What is the compass you use to guide you and your loved one?  What is your home?  Are you sure that the path you are on today will lead you to the eternal home with God?

Jesus said, “And I , if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”  Caleb saw the cross, and it represented home, safety and the right to say, “I once was lost, but now I am found.”

Jeff and Karen, Middle America and the Caribbean


And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

John 12:32


Jennifer Van Allen