Do You Have a Prodigal?

 

Me:  What a nice park!

Prodigal:  Yes, I am enjoying it.

Me:  Today we are talking about a Prodigal.

Prodigal:  Hahaha, I love it!

 

This is from the book Parenting From Surviving To Thriving by Charles Swindoll

Be willing to surrender the entire matter to the Lord, which will free you from a lot of worry and allow you the freedom to release your child.  Until he or she feels free from your hostility, your guilt, your expectations, or any other controlling attitudes, you will prolong the estrangement.  Let me repeat these three words forcefully:  release your child.

Be willing to wait for the Lord to change your child without your feeling the need to stop in and hurry the process along.  If your child is too distracted by your reproving, instructing voice, he or she will be too distracted to notice the heart surgery God wants to do within them.  Making them good is God’s great goal for all of us.  To borrow a line from Ruth Graham, your job is to love your child; it’s God’s job to make him or her good.  Wait for the Lord.  Let it be.  God wants your son or daughter good even more than you do!

 

Psalm 99:9

Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Pennies From Heaven

 

Prodigal:  I found a penny!

Me:  Keep it, and I can share a story about a penny.

Prodigal:  Perfect!

 

This is from the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories of Faith by Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen

 

Years ago, when out finances were less than ideal, I took a job vacuuming the halls and carpeted stairwells of our run-down condominium building.  Work is work, and I told myself it was honest work.  But it wasn’t what I’d imagined myself doing for employment and it dented my pride.

It was certainly difficult work; the portable vacuum weighed twenty pounds and the condominium hallways were mostly stairs, twelve staircases in all, three flights up each.  Six staircases a day was all I could manage.  Stirred up dirt and dust clung to my skin, sweaty from hauling the vacuum up and down the airless staircases, and there were days when self-pity and wounded pride made the vacuum weigh even more.

On a day that had been particularly hard, when my pride tweaked with every cigarette butt and piece of trash I picked up, I hauled my portable vacuum up the stairs and asked God, in a tone more rueful than meditative, to give me something, anything, to perk up my sagging spirit.

On the third floor, nearly hidden in the crevice where the frayed carpet met the wall, glinted a shiny penny. “This?”  I asked God. “This is what you give me?”  I sighed, but I pocketed the penny and didn’t give it much thought beyond that.

Curiously, pennies began to turn up each time I vacuumed the halls.  They hadn’t been there in the months before as I’d vacuumed up dried leaves and crumpled gum wrappers.  But now, each time, there was a penny.  One penny only.  It became a game to me, wondering where and when the lone penny would turn up.  Always, before the job was completed, there would be that one coin, as if it were waiting for me.  I started to say a thank you to God each time I retrieved the penny and pocketed it, and began to think of these small, found treasures as my pennies from heaven.

I didn’t tell anyone.  There are pennies everywhere, right?  Considered outdated, what is a penny but a useless coin that doesn’t buy anything in this expensive age?  The condo-cleaning job was the least of the hardships visited upon me in the last few years, and pennies weighed against family misfortunes and ill luck seemed small change, indeed.

Still, it gave me a jolt of renewed hope each time I spotted one–and more often than not, that hope alone was enough for me.

–Susan Clarkson Moorhead

 

Sometimes all the hope we have is just a penny but  at least we have hope.  God can multiply fish and bread.  He can multiply a penny.

 

Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in , in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established.

Exodus 15:17

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Adam’s Fall

 

Me:  Interesting sign!

Prodigal:  Yep, this guy who owns it blames everything on the weather or his raisin’.

Me:  Well God has another view.

 

This is from Dwight Pentecost

One of the most important questions which you can face is the question, “How far did Adam fall?”  A number of different answers have been given to that question.

The liberal says that Adam fell upward, so that Adam’s lot was better after the fall than before the fall because something was added to the personality of Adam which he had been deprived previously.  Consequently, Adam was a fuller and more complete person after the fall than he was before the fall.  There are those who say that when Adam fell, he feel over the cliff, but that when he was going over the cliff he grabbed something on the top of the cliff and held on.  He fell downward, but he held on before he slipped over the brink, and if he exerts enough will and enough strength he can pull himself back up cover the brink and stand on solid ground again.  Those who have that concept are trying to lift themselves by their own bootstraps and work their way into heaven.

Then, there is the teaching that says that when Adam fell, he slipped over the brink but he landed on a ledge part way down and that the ledge is the church and the church will lift him up and put him on solid ground again.

But the Word of God says that when Adam fell he fell all the way.  He became depraved, totally depraved, unable to do anything to please God.  He is under sin, dead, under judgement, under Satan’s control; he is lost.

 

Genesis 6:9

These are the records of the generations of Noah, Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Immeasurable

 

Me:  Why are you so mad!

Prodigal:  That guy just threatened me.

Me:  It’s ok.

Prodigal:  It’s not ok.  I’ll hit him so hard and so fast he’ll think his surrounded.

Me:  I just going to pray because the spirit can help.

 

 

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

 

As my friend Lee Earl has put it, when Jesus was on this earth, He could be measured.  You could measure how tall He was, how big His feet, His hat size.  Then “one day Jesus went airborne-He went from being something measurable to something immeasurable.”  It’s only in eternity that we will have any sure sense of what He is doing through us down here.

Lee says, “We have to become comfortable with what we can know and what we can measure, in terms of ministry results and accountability,….and we have to become comfortable with what we don’t know and cannot measure.”

Too much focus on measurements and numbers can also tempt us toward “if, then” formulas regarding God’s will:  if we do X, then He’ll do Y. If we give $100, then He’ll bring 11.25 souls to Himself.  If some tragedy occurs, then we’ll soon see how God caused “all things to work together for good” because of it.

But God is God–too big for our formulas, His purpose too high to be boxed by our limited human perspective.

 

 

Proverbs 22:2

The rich and poor meet together:  the LORD is the maker of them all.

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

God is Close

Me:  How is your day at the beach?

Prodigal:  It’s hotter than a boilin’ pot of neck bones.

Me:  Well don’t stay out there to long then.

Prodigal:  I wont.

 

Today we will share from Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst

 

The problem is, we have been trained to process life based on the way we feel.  We think we must feel love for love to exist.  We think we must feel wanted to truly be chosen.  We think we must feel God’s presence for Him to really be close.  But God never meant for us to feel our way to Him.

God wants us to stand on the absolute truth that He is with us no matter our feelings may betray that reality.  When I process life through my feelings, I am left deceived and disillusioned.  When I process life through God’s truth, I am divinely comforted by His love and made confident in His calling on my life.

I used to say I didn’t feel close to God, and therefore, God must not be close to me.  Now, I say:  God is close, and if I choose to be close back, He’ll rearrange by feelings.  In other words, I need to make an intentional choice with my head, knowing that my heart will eventually follow.

 

This is not a day where you run off in the sunset with a loved one and the birds are singing songs in the background.  This is a day where you are in the wilderness of a blizzard with no sun shinning but only clouds.  You feel alone and without the warmth of love.  Remember though that doesn’t mean you are not loved.

Psalm 105:7-8

He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.  He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Are We Innocent

 

Prodigal:  This is the perfect spot.

Me:  Yes, it is.  We should spend some time thanking God.

 

This is from the book  Bold Love by Dr. Dan B. Allender & Dr. Tremper Longman III

When the question of failure to love is raised, it should be heard as the whisper of a friend, not the accusation of an enemy, because our failures can be the delicious entry into a new comprehension of God’s grace.  Unfortunately, we are often so committed to seeing our involvement with others as innocent and our presumption of goodness untarnished that we retreat from facing our own lovelessness.  It seems inconceivable to most of us that relief can be found in facing our failure.  In seeing what is in our heart, we might be further compelled to flee from our presumption of self-sufficiency and embrace the hope of relationships built on God’s initiative and not on our performance.  However, this kind of dependence requires a broken heart that has given up the demands of pride.  Many are simply not ready for such loss of face.

 

Remember no pride and no hurt can be in the conversation.  Only a spirit of peace and love that the Lord gives you can help you address what you need to address.  Say what the Lord directs and  no more.  Leave the outcome of their heart with the Lord.

 

But where shall wisdom be found?  And where is the place of understanding?  Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.

Job 28:12-13

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Trying to Obey Him

 

Me:  Prodigal, you don’t look happy about your day.

Prodigal:  There’s a yellow jacket in the outhouse kinda day.

Me:  Well, I am glad your here!

 

This is from C.S. Lewis

To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says.  There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice.  Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him.  But trying in a new way, a less worried way.  Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already.  Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.

 

To trust, to obey and to submit.  This means glory and love for our Lord!  It may be a dying of the flesh to glorify the Lord but that is part of the submission.

 

Titus 3:8

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable to men.

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org