Relationship not Just Knowledge

 

Me: I wonder where the birds went and why they left Prodigal?

Prodigal:  How should I know?  I wasn’t sittin’ on their bedpost.

Me:  Maybe we should just pray instead and leave it all for God.

 

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

 

We were made for the greatest love story of them all.  We were made to fall in love with Jesus.  But we can’t fall in love with Jesus while holding him at a distance.  We can’t fall in love just by reading factual details about Him.  We will only fall in love when we draw close, deepen our understanding of Him, and seek to do life with Him.

 

Drawing closer to Jesus can only be done alone in quiet.  It can’t be done if your schedule is so full that you can’t breath.  But you say I am talking about Jesus the whole day.  Talking about someone doesn’t establish a relationship.  Just stop take 10 minutes right now, just stop and see what God wants to say to your spirit.

 

1 Kings 19:5

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

 

Jennifer Van Allen

 

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

 

 

Friendly Fire

Prodigal:  I think we should have some fun this weekend.

Me:  Yes, Let’s break out the bottles and shoot out the lights!

Prodigal:  Exactly!

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

It is imperative to know that a great deal of the harm that will come our way in the war against the Evil One will be at the hands of fellow Christians –so called “friendly fire.”  In fact, I would suggest that it is unusual for those in ministry to be attacked by the “unbeliever.”  The typical agent of war will be those who share the name of Christ who direct their missiles against those who are on the same side.  The Evil One is at his finest when he uses the damage of friendly fire to inflict abuse.  Satan, however, is not picky; he will be delighted to use any person or situation to achieve his destructive ends.  It is imperative to understand something of his modus operandi.  The better we understand the nature of abuse from friendly or unfriendly fire, the better we will understand the necessity of forgiveness.  Satan has countless battle plans that he hopes will work to destroy the heart of God’s people.

I know you may not agree, and you might be frustrated.  Today don’t let Satan use you to be friendly fire.  Maybe look at those in leadership and thank them and give them encouragement.  You have no idea the private battles that they may be dealing with.

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.

1 Chronicles 29:13

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Circumstances

Me:  What are you up to Prodigal?

Prodigal:  I just finished cleaning out the garage.

Me:  How did it go?

Prodigal:  That was as much fun as choppin’ wood in a nighttime blizzard.

 

This is from the book Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

 

Here’s the deal…..when my identity is tied to circumstances I become extremely insecure because circumstances are unpredictable and ever-changing.  I rise and fall with successes and failures.  I feel treasured when complimented but tormented when criticized.  I’m desperate to keep a relationship that makes me feel valuable.  Then I’m constantly terrified of that person slipping away.  Because I don’t just feel like I’m losing them…I feel like I’m losing a big part of myself as well.

My fearful mantra is “I must keep things good so I can be good.”

The exhausting manipulation and control it takes to protect an identity based on circumstances will crush our hearts and hide the best of who we are behind a wall of insecurity.  It’s time to stop the lies and devastating hurt stemming from this kind of circumstantial identity.  We must tie our identities to our unchanging, unflinching, unyielding, undeniably good, and unquestionably loving God.  And the ties that truly bind me to Him and the truth of who I am in Him are given to me in those quiet moments where I say, “I’m YOURS, God.

 

Revelation 4:11

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.

 

Jennifer Van Allen

 

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

The Highest Love of God

 

Me:  Watcha thinking about Prodigal?

Prodigal:  Just a lot on my mind and I got to make some decisions.

Me:  Mornin’ is wiser than evenin’

Prodigal:  Yep, I should wait some then.

 

This is from the book The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

Spinoza wrote of the intellectual love of God, and he had a measure of truth there; but the highest love of God is not intellectual, it is spiritual.  God is spirit and only the spirit of man can know Him really.  In the deep spirit of a man the fire must glow or his love is not the true love of God.  The great of the Kingdom have been those who loved God more than others did.  We all know who they have been and gladly pay tribute to the depths and sincerity of their devotion.  We have to pause for a moment and their names come trooping past us smelling of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces.

 

How do we know if someone loves God?  We see it in their life.  How do we know when someone loves someone else. We see it.  Who has not noticed the newlyweds who are watching each other with a small smile and a peace of knowing and loving.  This is evident of anyone is near them and spends a second to observe them.

Who has seen the couple who has been married for over 20 years that share that small joke between only the two of them that is overflowing with a commitment that has managed to overcome the darkest of valleys.

We see that and yet when we see people talk of God and worship God the same can be seen.  We can see the commitment, we can see the intimacy that comes from answered prayers that was first spoken in tears.  We can see that their spirit is different.  They are not like others in the world when they talk of this God who saved them.  Yes, there is something that is deep in the spirit that is sincere and is different.  It is something that you can have, and God freely gives to all who seek!

 

Psalm 118:21

I will praise thee; for thou has heard me, and art become my salvation.

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Disagreements

Prodigal:  You look like you are not yourself. Whats wrong?

Me:  People

Prodigal:  What about people

Me:  He’s so hardheaded, you could chop wood on his skull

Abraham by Charles Swindoll

 

Through the years, after countless resolved disagreements and difficult moments, I have finally learned to listen.  My wife has a lot of wisdom.  She knows me better than anyone else and can say better than anyone else what I need to hear.  Even when she happens to be wrong about something, her perspective has value to me.  I learn how to be a better man through our disagreements, and I learn how to lover her better.

Lessons we need to learn often come through the person we’re married to, if we’re not too stupid to hear what he or she is saying.

 

Don’t be too stupid today…..

 

Matthew 13:9

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Jesus Paid It All

Me:  What a nice building!

Prodigal:  Yes it is, the things you see when you travel around!

Me:  Yes, and here is a reminder about another part of the world!

 

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

To religious persons where I live, heaven is a lofty dream.  They believe that good deeds and others’ prayers help them climb their way up to heaven.  The better a person, the closer to heaven one is at death.  The concept of salvation by grace is foreign, as they think it is earned.

My pastor and I were meeting with a friend to discuss her recent conversion and her understanding of her decision.  Using 10 coins as an example, we posed the following scenario to her:  “You are a sinner, and your debt to God is 10 zloty.  How much are you going to pay, and how much is God going to pay?”

She was confused and asked for clarification.

“For example, will you pay the full amount?”  We pushed all the coins toward her. “Or will God pay the full amount?”  We pushed the coins away from her.  “Or will you pay half and God pay half?  We shifted the coins into two piles of five zloty each.  “How much of the 10 zloty must you pay to get yourself to heaven, and how much of your debt must you let God pay?”

Smiling my friend placed her hands on the coins and pushed them into one pile.  She said, “I want God to pay it all!”

My heart jumped for joy as I realized that she was not relying on herself for salvation.  We cannot earn our salvation, for only God’s grace can save us!

Michelle, Central and Eastern Europe.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts. 4:12

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Getting Better

Me:  Have you had a good time?

Prodigal:  Yes, and I am ready to just listen to what you have to share.

 

This from C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

 

One last point.  Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge.  When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him.  When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less.  A moderately bad man knows he is not very good:  a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right.  This is common sense, really.  You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping.  You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly:  while you are making them you cannot see them.  You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk.  Good people know about both good and evil:  bad people do not know about either.

 

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.                               

 

Jennifer Van Allen

 

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org