Government Building


Me:  You are walking downtown.

Prodigal:  Yes, this is where the city’s decisions are made at times.

Me:  Do you think they are making good decisions?

Prodigal:  I am not sure.


This is from the book Beyond Our Selves by Catherine Marshall


In the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia, the Constitutional Convention was in full swing.  The sessions were long and wearying.  May and a part of June had come and gone.  There were marked differences and long debates.  At a critical point, Benjamin Franklin, the oldest delegate in the assembly, rose and mad a daring and impassioned speech:

Mr. President:  The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance…is, methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of human understanding.  We indeed seem to feel our want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it…

In this situation…how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illumine our understanding?  In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room.  Our prayers, Sir…were graciously answered….And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend?  Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?


So what is your plan?  Do you think we no longer need God’s assistance?


Psalm 120:1

In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.


Jennifer Van Allen



Me:  Prodigal, you look like you are in a concrete jungle.

Prodigal:  Yep, my friend things it is nice, but she can’t help it cause she was raised on concrete.

Me: Well if you were raised in concrete jungle or dirt path I hope this will encourage all the leaders out there today.


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


Spiritual leaders are not elected, appointed, or created by synods or churchly assemblies.  God alone makes them.  One does not become a spiritual leader by merely filling an office, taking course work in the subject, or resolving in one’s own will to do this task.  A person must qualify to be a spiritual leader.

Often truly authoritative leadership falls on someone who years earlier sought to practice the discipline of seeking first the kingdom of God.  Then, as that person matures, God confers a leadership role, and the Spirit of God goes to work through him.  When God’s searching eye finds a person qualified to lead, God anoints that person and with the Holy Spirit, calls him or her to a special ministry (Acts 9:17; 22:21)


Being a leader is not started by wanting all the attention in the lime light.


Psalm 86:11


Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth:  unite my heart to fear thy name.


Jennifer Van Allen

If We Are Not Walking


Prodigal:  I can’t wait to fix up my boat and have all my friends on it.  I am already planning the parties.

Me:  You don’t start puttin’ the kettle on to boil ’til you catch the hare.

Prodigal:  Maybe I should just focus on the fixin.

Me:  I agree.


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


There is no such thing as a self-made spiritual leader.  A true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit works in and through him to a greater degree than in those he leads.

We can lead others only as far along the road as we ourselves have traveled.  Merely pointing the way is not enough.  If we are not walking, then no one can be following, and we are not leading anyone.


Remember all the trials, the hurts, the suffering.  It was so that you can lead because you already started that path before others.  Praise God for his direction in our lives!


Acts 22:15

For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.


Jennifer Van Allen

The World


Me:  Your crops look good this year!

Prodigal:  Thank you!

Me:  I have a story about the country you might like.

Prodigal:  You can share then!


This is from Billy Rose

There was once a fellow who, with his dad, farmed a little piece of land.  Several times a year they would load up the old ox-drawn cart with vegetables and go into the nearest city to sell their produce.  Except for their name and the patch of ground, father and son had little in common.  The old man believed in taking it easy.  The boy was usually in a hurry….the go-getter type.

One morning bright and early, they hitched up the ox to the loaded cart and started on the long journey.  The son figured that if they walked faster, kept going all day and night, they’d make the market by early the next morning.  So he kept prodding the ox with a stick, urging the beast to get a move on.

“Take it easy, son,” said the old man.  “You’ll last longer.”

“But if we get to market ahead of the others, we’ll have a better chance of getting good prices,” argued the son.

No reply.  Dad just pulled his hat down over his eyes and fell asleep on the seat.  Itchy and irritated, the young man kept goading the ox to walk faster.  His stubborn pace refused to change.

Four hours and four miles down the road, they came to a little house.  The father woke up, smiled, and said, “Here’s your uncle’s place.  Let’s stop in and say hello.”

“But we’ve lost an hour already,” complained the hotshot.  “Then a few more minutes won’t matter.  My brother and I live so close, yet we see each other so seldom.”

The boy fidgeted and fumed while the two men laughed and talked away almost an hour.  On the move again, the man took his turn leading the ox.  As they approached a fork in the road, the father led the ox to the right.

“The left is the shorter way,” said the son.

“I know it,” replied the old man, “but this way is so much prettier.”

“Have you no respect for time?”  the young man asked impatiently.

“Oh, I respect it very much!  That’s why I like to use it to look at beauty and enjoy each moment to the fullest.”

The winding path led through graceful meadows, wildflowers, and along a rippling stream–all of which the young man missed as he churned within, preoccupied and boiling with anxiety.  He didn’t even notice how lovely the sunset was that day.

Twilight found them in what looked like a huge, colorful garden.  The old man breathed in the aroma, listened to the bubbling brook, and pulled the ox to a halt.  “Let’s sleep here,” he sighed.

“This is the last trip I’m taking with you.”  snapped his son.  “You’re more interested in watching sunsets and smelling flowers than in making money!”

“Why, that is the nicest thing you’ve said in a long time.”  smiled the dad.  A couple of minutes later he was snoring–as his boy glared back at the stars.  The night dragged slowly, the son was restless.

Before the sunrise the young man hurriedly shook his father awake.  They hitched up and went on.  About a mile down the road they happened upon another farmer–a total stranger–trying to pull his cart out of a ditch.

“Let’s give him a hand,”  whispered the old man.

“And lose more time?”  exploded the son.

“Relax, son….you might be in a ditch sometime yourself.  We need to help others in need–don’t forget that.”  The boy looked away in anger.

It was almost eight o’clock that morning by the time the other cart was back on the road.  Suddenly, a great flash split the sky.  What sounded like thunder followed.  Beyond the hills, the sky grew dark.

“Looks like a big rain in the city,” said the old man.

“If we had hurried, we’d be almost sold out by now.” grumbled his son.

“Take it easy…You’ll last longer.  And you’ll enjoy life so much more,” counseled the kind old gentleman.

It was late afternoon by the time they got to the hill overlooking the city.  They stopped.  They stared down at it for a long, long time.

Neither of them said a word.  Finally the young man put his hand on his father’s shoulder and said, “I see what you mean, Dad.”

They turned their cart around and began to roll slowly away from what had once been the city of Hiroshima.


Jennifer Van Allen


Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.



Me:  That is a big strawberry Prodigal!

Prodigal:  Even the chickens under the porch know that.

Me:  I guess it is pretty obvious


This is from Dr. James Dobson


Change what can be altered, explain what can be understood, teach what can be learned, revise what can be improved, resolve what can be settled, and negotiate what is open to compromise.  Then determine to accept the rest.


Acts 23:25

And he wrote a letter after this manner:


Jennifer Van Allen

Stand For God’s Truth


Me:  How are you feeling today?

Prodigal:  I’m so low you couldn’t put a rug under me.

Me:  I have had days like that.  Maybe I can encourage you.


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


We were visiting Ethiopia when I saw an old shed on the property.  “What’s that?”  we asked.  “That’s the persecution house,”  our host told us.  “Whenever a family in our church comes under persecution, we bring them here to the shed so we can protect them and take care of them.”  Some members of his church, facing threats and opposition from local Muslims, had lived in the shed for months at a time.


When we stand for the word of God and who Christ is then we may come under persecution.  During those times a friend, and a place to go where you receive comfort and support helps you along the way to keep standing for God’s truth.

1 Peter 1:25


But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.


Jennifer Van Allen





Me:  Prodigal you are way out in the woods.

Prodigal:  Yep, out where even the deer and antelope don’t roam.

Me:  Well, we can still share encouragement.


Father, are those my footprints everyday, and is the second set of prints when you joined me?

He answers “no, my precious child.  The consistent footprints are mine.  The second set of footprints are when you joined me.

“Where were you going, father?”

To the destiny I planned for you, hoping you’d follow.

But father, where are my footprints all those times?

Sometimes you went back to look at old resentments and habits.

Sometimes, you departed from my path and chose your own instead.

Other times your footprints can even be seen on other’s person’s path because you liked their plan better.

At other times, you simply stopped because you would not let go of something you could not take with you.

But  even if I didn’t walk with you everyday, we ended up ok, didn’t we?

He holds you close and smiles, yes, child, we ended up ok, but you see, ok was never what I had in mind for you.

Father what are those golden treasure boxes on certain days?

Blessings, my child, I had for you along the way.  Those that are open are those you received.  Those still closed were days you did not walk with me.




Psalm 90:12

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.


Jennifer Van Allen




Me: Howdy!

Prodigal:  Are you enjoying your day?

Me:  Yes, I had to get away from the neighbors.

Prodigal:  How come?

Me:  They’re louder than Grandpa’s Sunday tie.

Prodigal:  Lord have mercy, that sounds like an interesting bunch.

Me:  You can say that again.

Prodigal: What have you been reading?


This is from the book Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias


The popular Western view of the word Islam meaning “peace” is neither accurate nor Qur’anic.  Qur’anically speaking, Islam means “submission” or “surrender,” but certainly not “peace” by any definition.


Only Jesus can bring you peace.


Romans 9:37

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.


Jennifer Van Allen

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

Me:  Are you having fun Prodigal?

Prodigal:  I am enjoying watching the pig races!

Me:  I am too!  I have picked out a couple of winners.

Prodigal:  I was surprised but yes, you did!

Me:  Let me share a poem to celebrate


When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake just for me, and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I believed there is a God I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me good night, and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked…and wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.


by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan


Psalm 27:14

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!


Jennifer Van Allen

Be Steadfast


Me:  What are you doing today Prodigal?

Prodigal:  I am trying to focus on what the Lord would have me to focus on.

Me:  Maybe I can help.


This comes from the book Beyond Our Selves by Catherine Marshall


Crisis brings us face to face with our inadequacy and our inadequacy in turn leads us to the inexhaustible sufficiency of God.  This is the power of helplessness, a principle written into the fabric of life.


Lord I am humbled right now because I have no idea how to move forward with  your direction and your life given love.  I am lost and I am needy.  Please guide me and do not leave me to myself.


1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.


Jennifer Van Allen