Me:  What are you doing Prodigal?

Prodigal:  Thinking about raking some leaves.

Me:  Maybe you need a left-handed rake?

Prodigal:  I would be serachin’ till kingdom come for that!

Me:  Well, I can share some real facts with you.

Prodigal:  Sounds good to me.


This comes from Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias

The single most important social influence on the spiritual lives of teens is their parents.  Fathers in particular have a vital role to play in the spiritual development of their children.  In his fascinating book Faith of the fatherless, social scientist Paul Vitz writes that in his study of the world’s most influential atheists (including Friedrich Nietzsche, David Hume, Bertrand Russell, John-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and H.G. Wells), all had one thing in common:  defective relationships with their fathers.  Moreover, when Vitz studied the lives of influential theists (Blaise Pascal, Edmund Burke, Moses Mendelssohn, Soren Kierkegaard, G.K. Chesterton, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer) during those same historical time periods, he found they enjoyed a strong, loving relationship with a father figure.


Spending time with your child today for an hour might be more important then you think it is.

Proverbs 27:1

Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.


Jennifer Van Allen





What To Do


Me:  Good Morning!

Prodigal:  Good Morning!

Me:  I wanted to start my day with God and I just finished.

Prodigal:  I need more of that in my life.

Me:  We all do!


This is from the book Fervent:  A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer


We pray because our solutions don’t work and because prayer deploys, activates, and fortifies us against the attacks of the enemy.  We pray because we’re serious about taking back the ground he has sought to take from us.


With out prayer how am I to know if God is showing me something or not?  Prayer gives you direction in your relationships and your bible reading.  You can read the bible and (you should), but with prayer it can guide your course.  How many times after prayer have I opened by bible and then a verse will give me comfort knowing that God just heard me.  How about your relationships.  How many times do you try to solve that problem in your spouse and instead of loving you become nagging.  Prayer can turn a heart of frustration to a heart of compassion.  Prayer adds extra connection and warmth to our Christian walk.  Prayer is not another check mark that is cold and really does not effect our lives.


Proverbs 28:1

The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion


Jennifer Van Allen





Me:  You finished that work quick Prodigal!

Prodigal:  I was on it like stink on a skunk.

Me:  Well, I am impressed.

Prodigal:  I don’t think them over yonder were very productive though.

Me:  Prodigal may be it is best we don’t say anything and instead let me just share.


This is from the book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst and written by Melanie Chitwood


I’ve been thinking lately about how easy it is to judge others or to think I have the answers for others.  For example, when I see a mother frustrated by her unruly kids, I might think, “She just needs to put those kids in a long time-out.”  Another time I observe a couple having trouble in their marriage and I question their commitment to God’s ways.

In a nutshell, I can be self-righteous, just like the Pharisees.  God has been making me aware lately of some of the unspoken yardsticks by which I measure others, such as:  A good mom doesn’t  let her kids watch too much TV and doesn’t scream at her kids.  Or, a godly woman has a quiet time every day and doesn’t fight with her husband.

But then there’s Jesus who turns those notions upside down when He says, “The greatest of these is love.”  What if instead of self-righteousness, we rained down love?  It would sound like this:  “Being a mom can be exhausting.  Do you want to come over and hang out for a while?”  or “I’ve had struggles in my marriage too.  Do you want to talk about it?”

God is challenging me to examine my spoken and unspoken judgements of others.  He wants us to come alongside others and help carry their burdens, rather than add to them with our criticism.  Where the Pharisees heap coals of judgement, Jesus calls us to be vessels of His love and encouragement.


Lord help me to remember this love during the week.


Matthew 23:11

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.


Jennifer Van Allen




I’m Drowning


Prodigal:  I need some encouragement today because it has been a down day.

Me:  Maybe this will help you just a little bit today.


Lord, I’m drowning

In a sea of perplexity.

Waves of confusion crash over me.

I’m too weak to shout for help.

Either quiet the waves

Or lift me above them.

It’s too late to learn to swim.

by Ruth Harms Calkin



I will not let you drown, even if you don’t feel it, the Lord sees you as a precious child that He is willing to protect.


Isaiah 35:5

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be opened.


Jennifer Van Allen



Song of Solomon


Me:  I hope you are having a good day!

Prodigal:  The LORD has made this day good.

Me:  Amen, to that!


This is from Charles Spurgeon

For several days we have been dwelling upon the Saviour’s passion, and for some little time to come we shall linger there. In beginning a new month, let us seek the same desires after our Lord as those which glowed in the heart of the elect spouse. See how she leaps at once to Him; there are no prefatory words; she does not even mention His name; she is in the heart of her theme at once, for she speaks of Him who was the only Him in the world to her. How bold is her love! it was much condescension which permitted the weeping penitent to anoint His feet with spikenard–it was rich love which allowed the gentle Mary to sit at His feet and learn of Him–but here, love, strong, fervent love, aspires to higher tokens of regard, and closer signs of fellowship. Esther trembled in the presence of Ahasuerus, but the spouse in joyful liberty of perfect love knows no fear. If we have received the same free spirit, we also may ask the like. By kisses we suppose to be intended those varied manifestations of affection by which the believer is made to enjoy the love of Jesus. The kiss of reconciliation we enjoyed at our conversion, and it was sweet as honey dropping from the comb. The kiss of acceptance is still warm on our brow, as we know that He hath accepted our persons and our works through rich grace. The kiss of daily, present communion, is that which we pant after to be repeated day after day, till it is changed into the kiss of reception, which removes the soul from earth, and the kiss of consummation which fills it with the joy of heaven. Faith is our walk, but fellowship sensibly felt is our rest. Faith is the road, but communion with Jesus is the well from which the pilgrim drinks. O lover of our souls, be not strange to us; let the lips of Thy blessing meet the lips of our asking; let the lips of Thy fullness touch the lips of our need, and straightway the kiss will be effected.


Luke 6:5

And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.


Jennifer Van Allen




She Was Healed

Me:  Howdy Prodigal!  How are you today?

Prodigal:  I’m fit as a fiddle and ready to play!

Me:  How about a story instead?

Prodigal:  That works perfect!

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


The shaman told Sunny that she wouldn’t live to her 40th birthday.  She was under a curse.  A doctor prescribed several medicines to treat the life-threatening blood cot in her head.  She endured intense headaches and constant depression.  Sunny’s only child, Siti, encouraged her mother to talk to the American in their neighborhood.

Siti heard about Jesus at my house.  Finally, she convinced her mother to talk with me.  Sunny asked, “What is the difference between the resurrection of  Jesus and the ascension of Jesus?”  Every few days, Sunny would visit and ask questions.

Sunny began to read the Bible with me.  One week, we studied about the betrayal and death of Jesus, including His prayer at Gethsemane.  He said, “Not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39).  Attracted to Jesus’s prayer, Sunny prayed that she would accept God’s will.

A few nights later, Sunny had an unusual dream.  A tall man, wearing white garments, came to her.  He poured ice-cold liquid over her head.  As it chilled her whole body, he said, “You are healed.”  She woke up cold and bewildered.  Who was the man?  Was the dream from God?  Was she really well again?

Sunny decided that whether or not she was healed, she believed that Jesus is the Savior, her Savior.  When the expensive pills had run out,  Sunny went to the doctor for a checkup.  The blood cot was gone!  The Muslim doctor said it was impossible.  Sunny said, “No, it’s an answer to prayer.”

M. Pacific Rim


1 Corinthians 3:6

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.


Jennifer Van Allen






Me:  What are you doing Prodigal?

Prodigal:  I am trying to hide from any animal who might think a pig would be a good lunch.

Me:  I do like your hiding spot but let me share where other protection may come from.

This is from the book The Prayer That Changes Everything by Stormie Omartian


God always protects us from far more than we know and provides a covering of safety beyond what we realize.  If God wasn’t our Protector, we wouldn’t be here.  That’s why we should praise God every day not only for being our Provider, but also our Protector.  Never underestimate the power of praise regarding both.


You cannot see what God is doing right now on this day to protect you from the enemies plans.  So Praise Him now, because He is your protector this day!


1 John 2:17

The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Jennifer Van Allen



Protection from the Lord


Me:  What are you eating?

Prodigal:  Some fried chicken!

Me:  How does it taste?

Prodigal:  It is better than an RC Cola and a Moon Pie!

Me:  Well I hope the story I share will encourage you today.


This is from the book Beyond Our Selves by Catherine Marshall


On the evening of December 7, 1946, a businessman, Stuart, checked into the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.  He asked for and got a room on the tenth floor above the city’s traffic.

Sometime after retiring, Stuart was wakened by noise in the corridor.  A strange red glow was reflected in the sky outside his window.  Fire!  Heart pounding, he opened his bedroom door into the corridor only to have billowing clouds of suffocating smoke all but engulf him.  Backing into the room, he hastily shut the door and the transom and rushed to eh window to fill his lungs with air.

What he saw there was even more terrifying.  Ten stories below a crowd was gathering, milling around fire trucks.  Behind him, he could hear screams and cries for help.

Fear so consumed him that it was like a weight on his chest.  But years before he had formed the habit of setting aside a time each morning for prayer and practice in listening to the Voice inside.  From long experience, he knew that he could rely on God in any emergency, even in a burning building.

He retreated to the center of the room and forced himself to begin speaking slowly the Ninety-first Psalm:   “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation, there shall no evil befall thee…”

No evil befall thee?  In this situation?  How could he claim that for himself?

As he repeated this verse, suddenly his thoughts cleared.  God is my very life, he reasoned.  Therefore that life is eternal.  “I hereby put myself in Your care and keeping,” he prayed.  “Let Your presence by my fortress.  I await Your instructions as to the way out of this crisis.”

“The first sure sign that God was with me in that fire-surrounded room was that after this prayer my fear just left me, siphoned off like poison,”  Stuart wrote me later “Judging from the sounds around me and the increasing heat in the room, the situation was getting worse by the minute.  Yet on the inside was a center of calm, such calmness that I really could hear the inner Voice.”

The first instruction was that he should pull on his clothes.  The next clear suggestion was to make a rope of the sheets, all blankets, even the bedspread.  As he tied knots, he knew that the rope would not reach more than a third of the way to the street.  But he followed instructions, sure he would be told what to do next.

As he put the rope out the window, he heard the Voice say, “No–not yet, Trust Me–”

It seemed as if the delay might be fatal.  Again the man started to throw the rope out the window.  Again the clear order came, “Not yet….Wait.”

It took will power to obey, because now black smoke was seeping into the room.  But long ago he had learned to trust the Voice of God; it had led him out of other predicaments.

Finally the Voice said, “Now is the time.  Put the rope out the window.  Tie it around the center part of the window frame and climb out.”

As Stuart climbed over the sill, the wood was getting hot.  In his mind rang the words, “God is my life and my salvation….I shall not fear….God is my life—-”

Down the twenty feet he slid, but his rope reached only the eighth-floor level.  What could he do now?  Once again he deliberately turned his thought to God, his fortress.  “God is my life….My life….God is my life….”

Across the face of the building he saw a fireman extending a ladder to the eighth floor.  That was as far as the ladder would reach.  Even so it was still too far away, one room to the right.

Suddenly the fireman saw Stuart hanging there.  He signaled him and swung a rope hanging from a window above toward him.  The first time the rope came close; the next time not so close.  How could he grasp the swinging rope and still cling to the knotted bedclothes?  Once again the rope hurled through the air.  This time Stuart caught it.

He took a deep breath, twisted the rope around his right hand, let go the knotted bedclothes, and swung in a wide arc across the burning wall.  The fireman at the top of the ladder leaned over as far as he dared, caught the end of the rope on which the man dangled, pulled it over.  For a moment both men balanced precariously on the slender ladder.  Then Stuart climbed down to safety.

He looked up.  His improvised rope was already burning.  Flames billowed from the window of the room he had just left.  Yet here he was, safe on the ground with no injuries except some rope burns on the palms of his hands.  God’s timing had been perfect.

The next day the nation’s newspapers carried ghastly pictures of the disaster and its victims, calling it one of the nation’s worst fires.  One hundred twenty-seven people lost their lives; many more were injured.


Colossians 3:1-2

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.


Jennifer Van Allen





Halfway Educated


Me:  That looks like a lot of studying!

Prodigal:  Yes it is.  I am trying to learn more.

Me:  Well I can share something to think about.


This is from the book The Secret of Happiness by Billy Graham


We can put a public school and a university in the middle of every block of every city in America–but we will never keep America from rotting morally by mere intellectual education.  Education cannot be properly called education which neglects the most important aspects of man’s nature.  Partial education throughout the world is far worse than none at all if we educate the mind but not the soul.

Turn a half-educated man loose upon the world, put him in the community which inexhaustible resources at his command but recognizing no power higher than his own– he is a monstrosity!  He is but halfway educated and is far more dangerous than if he were not educated al all.  He is a speeding locomotive without an engineer.  He is a tossing ship without a compass, pilot, or destiny.


Mark 10:52

And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.  And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.


Jennifer Van Allen



Church’s Voice


Me:  Who are you with today Prodigal?

Prodigal:  Someone I just met.

Me:  How is it going?

Prodigal:  I believe he can sweet-talk the water right out of the well.

Me:  You might need to use spiritual discernment then.


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


If the world is to hear the church’s voice today, leaders are needed who are authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial.  Authoritative, because people desire leaders who know where they are going and are confident of getting there.  Spiritual, because without a strong relationship to God, even the most attractive and competent person cannot lead people to God.  Sacrificial, because this follow the model of Jesus, who gave himself for the whole world and who calls us to follow in His steps.  Churches grow in every way when they are guided by strong, spiritual leaders with the touch of the supernatural radiating in their service.  The church sinks into confusion and malaise without such leadership.


We need to make sure we pray for discernment with leaders.  We do not always need to follow the sweet talking person.  They can lead you straight to a distraction that was planned by Satan.


Psalm 78:42

They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.


Jennifer Van Allen