Me:  Howdy Prodigal!

Prodigal:  It was a rough start to the morning and I can use some encouragement.

Me:  I can share from what I read this morning.


This is from Charles Spurgeon’s book Joy in Christ’s Presence


Everything that you have, you have in Him; you have been chosen in Him, redeemed in Him, justified in Him.  You are risen in Him, but without Him you would have died the second death.  In Him you are raised up to the heavenly places, but out of Him you would have been damned eternally.


Do not be afraid this morning.  Your fears are not focused on the fact that your life is built on the rock of Christ.  He will help you through anything.  You are not perfect and you do not have to be perfect.  When you make a mistake then God can make sure you receive mercy and grace for that mistake.  You cannot miss up all of God’s plan just because you made a mistake.  He does not expect you to take all this alone without His guidance.


Psalm 90:2

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.


Jennifer Van Allen



One Little Boy

Me:  What a cute little boy!

Prodigal:  Yes, I am enjoying my time with him!

Me:  Let me share a story about another little boy.


This comes from the book Stories for the Heart by Alice Gray and was submitted by David Needham

There is a true story of a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion.  The doctor explained that she had the same disease the boy had recovered from two years earlier.  Her only chance of recovery was a transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the disease.  Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was an ideal donor.

“Would you give your blood to Mary?” the doctor asked.

Johnny hesitated.  His lower lip started to tremble.  Then he smiled and said, “Sure, for my sister.”

Soon the two children were wheeled into the hospital room.  Mary, pale and thin.  Johnny, robust and healthy.  Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned.

As the nurse inserted the needle into his arm, Johnny’s smile faded.  He watched the blood flow through the tube.

With the ordeal almost over, Johnny’s voice, slightly shaky, broke the silence.

“Doctor, when do I die?”

Only then did the doctor realize why Johnny had hesitated, why his lip had tremble when he agreed to donate blood.  He thought giving his blood to his sister would mean giving up his life.  In that brief moment, he had made his great decision.


Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


Jennifer Van Allen



Ice Cream


Prodigal:  That was some good ice cream!

Me: I agree!  I actually have a story about ice cream.

Prodigal:  Lets hear it then.


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


God is always teaching me about trusting Him to provide.  I often learn through my friend, and Indian woman who lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  She has five children and makes a meager living.  Her husband is in jail in Dubai.  Her faith is simple yet remarkable.  She trusts in God to provide everything–and I do mean everything.

In the Congo, the sidewalks roll up around 6 p.m., and everyone just stays at home.  It’s during this time that my friend prays and teachers her children about God’s power to provide.  One night, she shared that her stomach ulcer was painful.  She also mentioned that ice cream might help settle it down.  But the family didn’t have money to buy ice cream–if the stores had even been open.  Besides, finding ice cream in the store is a challenge!

One of her kids asked what he could do.  My friend replied, “Let’s pray for my stomach and pray that God would provide for my need.”

Her 6-year-old prayed earnestly for ice cream.  Ten minutes later, the phone rang.  A neighbor called to say he had leftover ice cream from a party and wanted to know if they could use it.

My friend sang the “Hallelujah Chorus” and told her neighbor, who was not a Christian, that the ice cream was a direct answer to prayer.  On the phone, she told the story of how God provides for her family–even for the simple things like ice cream.

Debbie, Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa


2 Corinthians 12:9

Each time he said, No.  But I am with you; that is all you need.  My power shows up best in weak people.  Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am;  I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities.


Jennifer Van Allen



The Word Became Flesh

Me:  Prodigal, SLOW down,  I think you are driving too fast.

Prodigal:  Who’s pluckin’ this chicken, you or me?

Me:  Well you are but I was just trying to help.

Prodigal:  Maybe you can help with an encouraging word.

Me:  I can share words from C.S. Lewis


I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.”  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:  or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.


Is Jesus the Son of God or something else?

How are you treating Jesus today?


And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying to Him, “If you are willing, You can make me clean”

(Mark 1:40)


Jennifer Van Allen




Dark Power


Me:  Prodigal, I am confused.  You were born in the south.

Prodigal:  Yes, but I have a friend who was born in LA and another Yankee friend.

Me:  Do they know your thoughts on this.

Prodigal:  Of course they do, and we still get along.


This is from the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis


But I freely admit that real Christianity (as distinct from Christianity-and-water) goes much nearer to Dualism than people think.  One of the things that surprise me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe–a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin.  The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong.  Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war.  But it does not think this is a war between independent powers.  It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.


Don’t forget your sword today!  Don’t forget the shield of faith also!  I just remind ya, because I care.


Galatians 6:10

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.


Jennifer Van Allen




Prodigal:  I am not sure about these guys, they look kinda rough around the edges.

Me:  I am sure they are very kind and probably fun!

Prodigal:  Yep, and I am sure they mild chickens too.

Me:  Let me share a story that might help with your perceptions.


This is from the book Overcoming Spiritual Blindness by James Gills, M.D.


Clans, cliques, castes–it may be an unfortunate, inherent attribute of our fallen human nature that we seek not only to distinguish ourselves from others, but to separate ourselves from them.  Pride, as we have discussed, causes people to elevate themselves about their neighbors and to exclude them from their own experience of life.  Many gravitate toward, and cling to, those who appear to be the same and can confirm that their blindness is justified.  We learn to identify with false differences and to reinforce them in a group.  Kings are no commoners, and farmers are not doctors.  One is better than another; at least, so we think.  But our evaluations are not of God.


You are not better than anybody else and you are not lower than anybody else.  Our Lord Jesus Christ loves me and you and that other person also.  Don’t base your relationships on pride but on love.


1 Corinthians 16:11

Let no man therefore despise him:  but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me:  for I look for him with the brethren.


Jennifer Van Allen





Me:  Do you like your train ride?

Prodigal:  This ride is ’bout as fast as a wagon pulled by a team of sick turtles.

Me:  Sometimes you just have to have patience.



This is from the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis


We all want progress.  But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be.  And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.  If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.  We have all seen this when doing arithmetic.  When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start again, the faster I shall get on.  There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake.


Are you on the right road?  Really only God can show you that.  People may think they can show you, but only God has that power.


Exodus 14:13

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.  For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.


Jennifer Van Allen





05-28-15 052

Me:  Prodigal, that horse looks calm with you riding him.

Prodigal:  He actually is a very powerful horse but he is being meek.

Me:  I was just reading about what meekness is.


Billy Graham writes in his book , The Secret of Happiness what meekness is.


William Barclay points out that the Greek word for “meek” was the word which was often used to describe an animal which had been tamed to obey the command of its master.  It might be a strong animal like a horse or ox, able to do a great deal of work.  It was not “weak”– but it was “meek”, always obedient to the will of its owner.  A tame horse contribute much more to life than a wild one.  Energy out of control is dangerous; energy under control is powerful.


Don’t make the mistake of thinking what you see is weakness when it is really being meek.


1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Jennifer Van Allen



Will You Forgive?

Me:  What is all that yelling about?

Prodigal:  He’s as useful as a fork at a supper of soup.

Me:  Well, lower your voice and calm down.  What ever this is all about just separate, spend some time praying and maybe God will show you how your heart should be.


This is from Corrie ten Boom


It was in a church in Munich that I saw him—a balding, heavy-set man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands.  People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken and moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear.  The year was 1947, and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives.

This was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture.  Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown.  “When we confess our sins,”  I said, “God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever.  And even though I cannot find a Scripture for it, I believe God then places a sign out there that says, “No Fishing Allowed.”

The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe.  There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947.  People stood up in silence, collected their wraps in silence, left the room in silence.

And that’s when I saw him working his way forward against the others.  One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush:  the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man.  I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin.  Betsie, how thin you were!

The place was Ravensbruck, and the man who was making his way forward had been a guard–one of the cruelest guards.

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out:  “A fine message, Fraulein! How good it is to know that ,as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!”

And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand.  He would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?

But I remember him and the leather crop swinging from his belt.  I was face-to-face with one of my captors, and my blood seemed to freeze.

“You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,” he was saying.  “I was a guard there.”  No, he did not remember me.

“But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian.  I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well.  Fraulein”–again the hand came out–“will you forgive me?”

And I stood there–I whose sins had again and again needed to be forgiven–and could not forgive.  Betsie had died in that place–could he erase her slow, terrible death simply by the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there–hand held out–but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it–I knew that.  The message that God forgives has a prior condition:  that we forgive those who have injured us.  “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,”  Jesus says, “neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.”

I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience.  Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality.  Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were also able to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars.  Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids.  It was as simple and horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart.  But forgiveness is not an emotion–I knew that, too.  Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.  Jesus, help me!  I prayed silently.  I can lift my hand.  I can do that much.  You supply the feeling.

So, woodenly and mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me.  And as I did, an incredible thing took place.  The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, and sprang into our joined hands.  And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I forgive you, brother!” I cried.  “With all my heart.”

For a long moment, we grasped each other’s hands–the former guard and the former prisoner.  I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.  But even so,  I realized it was not my love.  I had tried and did not have the power of the Holy Spirit as recorded in Romans 5:5


Romans 5:5

Because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


Jennifer Van Allen



The Path


Prodigal:  What do we do with pain?

Me:  That is a good question.  Do you know who has the answer?

Prodigal:  Who?

Me:  Christ is always the answer to turn too.


This comes from the book  The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

I am progressing along the path of life in my ordinary, contentedly fallen and godless condition, absorbed in a merry meeting with my friends for the morrow or a bit of work that tickles my vanity to-day, a holiday or a new book, when suddenly a stab of abdominal pain that threatens serious disease, or a headline in the newspapers that threatens us all with destruction, send this whole pack of cards tumbling down.

At first I am overwhelmed, and all my little happiness look like broken toys.  Then slowly and reluctantly, bit by bit, I try to bring myself into the frame of mind that I should be in at all times.  I remind myself that all these toys were never intended to posses my heart, that my true good is in another world and my only real treasure is Christ.  And perhaps, by God’s grace, I succeed, and for a day or two become a creature consciously dependent on God and drawing its strength from the right sources.  But the moment the threat is withdrawn, my whole nature leaps back to the toys.


Oh Father let me reminder the sweet times of my past trials where you were with me every moment.  Let me remember how the toys of today do not compare with my relationship with you.


1 Peter 3:17

For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.


Jennifer Van Allen