Seeing The Power of God

09-19-15 041

Prodigal:  I want to hear another encouraging story.

Me:  How about another missionary story?

Prodigal:  Sounds good to me.

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


Civil War pummeled Ivory Coast, West Africa.  When the fighting began, doctors fled.  That was how one Toura village found itself without modern medicine.  An epidemic swept through, killing dozens of children.

Among the victims was 4-year old Rebecca, the daughter of Clarice and Zo, two of only three Christians there.   “If your God is so powerful, why did Rebecca die?”  the villagers asked Clarice, taunting.

“If your fetishes are so powerful, why did your children die?”  Clarice answered.  “The Bible says it rains on  the righteous and the unrighteous alike.”

Months later, illness struck Clarice, and she fell into a coma.  Zo’s father, Lee, summoned the medicine man to work magic over his daughter-in-law.  Zo refused the witchcraft.  Lee was furious and told the medicine men “Just leave.  We’ll let my son and his Christians pray, and we’ll see how powerful their God is!”

Zo and Christians from another village prayed.  They knelt on the dusty floor of the two-room home, laid their hands on Clarice’s motionless body and cried out to God.  As they prayed, Clairce opened her eyes!

The next day, there was another miracle.  After hearing about Clarice’s recovery, Lee put on his nicest robe, picked up his cane and walked six miles to the other village.  There, he thanked each Christian who prayed.   This man who had persecuted Christians was now honoring them.

Today, Clarice is back working in her fields.  Her life has been a testimony to many of the power of prayer to the true God.

Susan, West Africa

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

James 5:16b


Jennifer Van Allen

The Lord’s Power

Prodigal:  I am enjoying this walk.  Why don’t you share a story.

Me:  I will share from one of our favorites

This is from Voices of the Faithful by Beth Moore

While working in a remote area in Central Asia, I visited a refugee camp of 50 to 60 families.  No one had food, most of the children were lethargic and ill.  Everyone was asking me if I could help.

I was invited inside one of the plastic 4X8 foot tents.  Inside, a woman severely ill and blinded lay very still.  “I’m not a doctor, nor a nurse.  I am not able to do anything.”  I announced.  By this time, a crowd gathered.  Immediately, I sensed in my spirit, You can do something, you can pray, Show them My power.  I thought, Not here, Lord not now.  It is too dangerous.

After getting permission, I was allowed to pray over this woman.  Through tears, I prayed, “Use this, oh Jesus, to show these deserted people that You see them, You hear them.  Heal this woman in Jesus’ name!”  As I walked out of the tent, I said.  “I don’t know what I can do for you, but this I do know.  God hears you, and He sees you.  Call out to Him.  He will give you hope.”

Two days later, upon returning to the camp, many ran to greet me proclaiming.  “He heard us; He saw us!”  The day after I prayed, two different organizations brought bread, oil and needed supplies.  I looked up to see the previously sick woman walking toward me completely healed!

In later months, at least three of these ladies have become believers.  These refugees from all over Afghanistan saw God’s power and message of hope.

Robin, Central Asia


You are a God who sees Genesis 16:13a


Jennifer Van Allen

There is Only One Name



Prodigal:  Do you like my manatee friends?

Me:  I love manatees!

Prodigal:  What don’t you share some encouragement with my friends.  They have had a rough day.

Today I will share from the book Joy in Christ’s Presence by Charles Spurgeon


Likewise, Christ Jesus is the only escape for a sinner pursued by the fiery wrath of God, and every believer ought to remember this.  Our own works could never shelter us, for they have proved to be only refuges of lies.  Even if they had been a thousand times more and better, they would have been only as the spider’s web, too frail to hang eternal interests upon.  There is only one name, one sacrifice, one blood, by which we may escape.  All other attempts at salvation are a grievous failure.


At the cross, is where is all begins and where the love that was given can never be matched.  It is a story that can never be doubted of the power that it has on an individual year after year and generation after generation.  It carries with it the truth of who our father in heaven is.  It is the one act of love that saves us from ourselves.  This word, the love and this sacrifice will remain during all eternity.  That is worthy to worship and that alone.


Psalm 56:4

I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.


Jennifer Van Allen








Me:  Are you with Data?

Prodigal:  Yes, people like the idea that his emotions do not get in the way.

Me:  In fact he doesn’t have emotions right?

Prodigal:  Yep, what do you think of emotions.

Me:  Well some Christians try to pretend they don’t have any.  I will share a different view point though.


This is from the book Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey


One bold message in the Book of Job is that you can say anything to God.  Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment–he can absorb them all.  As often as not, spiritual giants of the Bible are shown contending with God.  They prefer to go away limping, like Jacob, rather than to shut God out.  In this respect, the Bible prefigures a tenet of modern psychology:  you can’t really deny your feelings or make them disappear, so you might as well express them.  God can deal with every human response save one.  He cannot abide the response I fall back on instinctively:  an attempt to ignore him or treat him as though he does not exist.  That response never once occurred to Job.


You feel alone with the pain of what has happened.  You just cannot get past the churning of the anger inside of you at the moment.  People are busy.  Nobody seems to dull the emotions anyway.  Do you dare turn to God?  Do you try to bury them beneath a wave of work and tasks?  Maybe a choice would be to allow them to gush forward out of your soul as you would when Job found out about the loss of his children.  No Job did not receive his children back when he went to God, and God did answer Job.  But Job did not turn from God.  Maybe the honesty of Job’s emotions drew him toward God and that made the difference during his trial.  When others turned away from God in bitterness and resentment.  Job stayed true to his relationship with God.


Job 42:10

And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.  And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.


Jennifer Van Allen

I Forgive You



Prodigal:  phew, I am tired.  I need a break from our run.

Me:  I agree it is warmer out here now that we are running.

Prodigal:  Why don’t you share a story while we rest.

This comes from the book  The God Who Hung on the Cross by Dois Rosser Jr. and Ellen Vaughn


During Liberia’s civil war, rebels massacred more than 250,000 men, women and children.  Bishop Jerome Klibo lost his father when a soldier burst into the family home and grabbed his dad, who was 75 years old.  As horrified family members screamed and wept, the soldier threatened them all, and then hacked the elderly man to death with a machete.

Years later, Bishop Klibo and the rest of the family were rebuilding their ministry in their ravaged country.  Then a visitor arrived in the bishop’s office one day.  Trembling, terrified, he fell to his knees, then prostrate on the floor, Bishop Klibo knew who he was:  the very soldier who had so viciously killed his father.

The man wept on the floor, begging Bishop Klibo for forgiveness.  His conscience had condemned him for years, and now he was destitute, broken, desperate forgiveness, but knowing full well he did not deserve it.

Bishop Klibo thought about all the times God had forgiven him.  He thought of Jesus, bleeding on the cross.  “I forgive you,”  he told the cowering man.  “I forgive you.”

Astonished, the man lifted his head.  Bishop Klibo called to his wife to make a meal, invited the former solder into his home, and broke bread with him.  He gave him money so he could start fresh…but most important, he passed on the ultimate new beginning of life in Christ.

Isaiah 26:4

Trust in the Lord forever,

for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.


Jennifer Van Allen






She Knew

Prodigal:  I’m ready.

Me:  For what?

Prodigal:  Your story.


She knew.  What did she know.  She knew what the others in the crowd did not know.  How did she know?  She had been watching him.  She heard the way he spoke.  She listened to the quietness and then the loudness of his voice at times.

She also would look into his eyes.  Those eyes.  Well they could tell a story.  They always told a story.  They were filled with a love she had never known before.  They were filled with compassion and a peace.  How could his eyes say so much even when he was just standing there?  How could he seem to be speaking to her with so many others around?

Of course she also saw what he did.  That was why there was a crowd.  That was why there always seemed to be a crowd.  They were there for what he did.  She was there because she knew who he was.  She knew who he was without even meeting him.  She knew that this is where she must be.

There it was disrupting her thoughts again.  There it was taken away the peace and the comfort.  It was the pain that was always there for the past 12 years.  It had caused her to be different.  The others knew.  She tried to hide it.  She tried to live normal.  She could not.  There was the pain and always the bleeding.  At first she thought this would only last for a short time.  This was only  a minor detail in her life.  This would be soon forgotten as she got on with her life.  After the many physicians and bills later she was in pain alone.

Now though was the added pain of rejection of not being able to be normal.  Not being able to laugh and joke and have hope that tomorrow will be a good day.  The pain was all around her.  The pain made her cry out when she was alone and there was no one to hear her despair.  Her cries would say in sorrow.  How did she get here?  How can she make it till tomorrow?  Those had been the words that  always remains in her soul no matter what is going on around her.  It creates an emptiness that allows her to know that she is not whole.  That her part of her is no longer living.  That is a part of her is so dark that lightness has not been able to touch it.

What was she doing now?  She knew that today was the time.  She had been crying out to him in her dreams.  She had been crying out to him while the pain engulfed her whole body.  The answer she got was to touch him would make her whole.  She had told no one of the dreams.  She had told no one of the answer.

Of course people were talking about him.  Look at all he did.  They talked as if he was from God, they talked as if he was from the devil.  They also just talked of their own selfishness.  Some only wanted to be around him to meet others of influence.  Some just wanted the benefits from some of the people he knew.  Some though knew him like she did.  Some knew that he was the one.  Something in her dreams though told her that only she knew that touching him would make her whole.

She was slow and small.  She had learned over the years how to best avoid attention and learned how to be quiet.  Sometimes the attention for her difference hurt her worse than the pain in her body.  So she learned early on how to become unnoticeable with people around.  She had learned how to get places and not be seen.  So it was this skill on this day that slowly brought her threw the crowd.

The day was sunny with a couple of clouds in the sky.  The sun had been up for several hours.  He had been busy the day before and she knew that today would be busy as well.  She knew that today was the day she had to touch him.

She started in the back of the crowd and made slow invisible like movements to the front.  There he was walking.  His garments appeared normal but not him.  He was the man that she had learned to love in her dreams.  He was the man that had given her hope while she called out to him alone.  Now, her life was going to change forever.

She took a deep breath and touched the border of his garment.  That was all she needed.  She knew he was that powerful.  As her fingers lightly touched his robe so not to disturb him she felt it immediately.   The feeling was covered in warmth.  There was a peace and lightness in that moment.  There was no darkness and all pain was gone.  Anything negative had vanished in the instant that she had touched him.  So in that moment she knew the impossible had happened.

She was whole!  She was healed!  She had just touched the divine and was made alive!  There was no pain but more than that, there was no loneliness.  She had never known love like this.  She had never known the healing she needed for her loneliness.

Before she could think more he spoke.  ”  Who touched my clothes?”  The other men with him did not see her and quickly try to say nobody.  She sighed with relief.  She just wanted to disappear. She did not want to upset this man who had given her so much.  She did not want to disturb what he had to do.  Then he spoke again “Who touched me?”  That is when he turned to look at me.

He looked right at me.  The woman who had learned how to disappear from everyone could not disappear from him.  Before even taking another breath she fell down at his feet with fear and trembling and the words came out before she could even think.  Then the man who she had been watching.  The man who she had known in her dreams looked her in her eyes and with the voice full of compassion and love said, “Daughter, thy faith hath, made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy affliction.

As she walked away.  She did not try to hide.  She did not watch others and their lives.  She walked away whole with a smile on her lips and tears slowly falling down her cheek.  She walked away knowing that she would see him again.  He would come again for her and then there would be no more separation and he would love her for eternity.


Matthew 9:20-22

And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment.  For she said within herself,  If I may but touched the hem of his garment.  I shall be whole.  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.  And the woman was made whole from that hour.


Jennifer Van Allen



Me:  Watcha doing Prodigal?

Prodigal:  I am leading the sheep.

Me:  Important job, I can encourage you with that today.

This comes from the book Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders


At the outset of any study of spiritual leadership, this master principle must be squarely faced:  True greatness, true leadership, is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in coaxing or inducing others to serve you.  True service is never without cost.  Often it comes with a painful baptism of suffering.  But the true spiritual leader is focused on the service he and she can render to God and other people, not on the residuals and perks of high office or holy title.  We must aim to put more into life than we take out.


Remember to never think of yourself as more important than others.  God loves us all and we are to remain humble in our hearts.


Luke 18:27

But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”


Jennifer Van Allen


A Prayer


Me:  Prodigal, are you praying?

Prodigal:  Yes

Me:  Let me leave you with this prayer then.


This is a prayer from Susanna Wesley the mother of John and Charles Wesley


I praise Thee, O God, for illuminating my mind and for enabling me to prove demonstratively that Thy wisdom is as infinite as Thy power.  Help me to use these discoveries to praise and love and obey, and may I be exceedingly careful that my affections keep pace with my knowledge.

As I am more rationally persuaded that Thou art infinitely wise, so may I learn by this knowledge to practice a more hearty and universal subjection to Thee, more cheerfully to bow before the order of Thy providence, to submit my reason so far to my faith as not to doubt those points of faith which are mysterious to me through the weakness of my understanding.

May I adore the mystery I cannot comprehend.  Help me to be not too curious in prying into those secret things that are known only to Thee, O God, nor too rash in censuring what I do not understand.  May I not perplex myself about those methods of providence that seem to me involved and intricate, but resolve them into Thine infinite wisdom, who knowest the spirits of all flesh and dost best understand how to govern those souls Thou hast created.

We are of yesterday and know nothing.  Bu Thy boundless mind comprehends, at one view, all things, past , present, and future, and as Thou dost see all things, Thou dost best understand what is good and proper for each individual and for me, with relation to both worlds.  So deal with me, O my God.  Amen.


Proverbs 18:21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.


Jennifer Van Allen



Mary and Amy


Me:  Going to church Prodigal?

Prodigal:  Yep, I wonder what today will be like.

Me:  I don’t know but before we go in, I could share a story about church.


This comes from the book God’s Little Devotional Book for Women

Mary Smith went to church one Sunday morning and winced when she heard the organist miss a note during the processional.  She noted a teenager talking while everybody was supposed to be in prayer.  She also couldn’t help but notice that several blooms in the altar bouquets were wilted.  She felt the usher was scrutinizing what every person was putting into the offering plate, which made her angry.  She counted at least five grammatical errors made by the preacher in his sermon.  As she left the church through the side door after the closing hymn, she thought, What a careless group of people!

Amy Jones went to church one Sunday morning and was thrilled at the arrangement she heard of “A Mighty Fortress.”  Her heart was touched at hearing a teenager read the morning Scripture lesson.  She was encouraged to see the church take up an offering to help the hungry children in Nigeria.  The preacher’s sermon answered a question that had bothered for her some time.  She felt radiant joy from the choir members during the recessional.  She left the church thinking, What a wonderful place to worship God!

Mary and Amy went to the same church, on the same Sunday morning.


Be careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.

Ephesians 5:15-16


Jennifer Van Allen

Evolving Relationships

Prodigal:  Howdy!

Me:  How is your day?

Prodigal:  I am having a rough day today.  Relationships can be difficult as they grow.

Me:  That is true.  I was just reading about relationships.

This comes from the book How Firm a Foundation:  A Gift of Jewish Wisdom for Christians and Jews by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein


There is a Jewish story told of a young man who visited his rabbi and became so overwhelmed by the emotional experience that he cried out, “Rabbi, I love you dearly.”  The rabbi, who was both touched and amused by his student’s sincerity, asked him, “Tell me, my son, you say that you love me, but where do I hurt?  What ails me?”  To this the perplexed young man responded, “I do not know where you hurt, Rabbi, but, nevertheless, I love you dearly!”  The rabbit then replied, “But how can you say you love me when you do not even know where I hurt and what brings me pain?”


A true relationship means that not only you know what hurts me but you are there for me when  I do hurt.  Sometimes life gets hard.  Sometimes it is one of those days where you just hurt and suffer.  You know God, you know God loves you.  You know there is a plan.  You know that life with God is better than life without God.  But today you are hurting.  Today you feel suffering.  Today you are weak, with no strength.  Today the prayers and the bible passage have spoken to you but they do not seem to get past the heaviness of hurt that has swallowed up your day.  I need you today, to understand that I hurt.  You might not be able to stop the hurt and that is ok.  Just pray with me and let me not be alone in my hurt.

And then God says

Malachi 3:6

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefor ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.


Jennifer Van Allen