The Power of Peace

Me:  You look at peace.

Prodigal:  I am right now.

Me:  Peace is something that is worth searching for.

This is from the book  Reclaiming Your Heart:  A Journey Back to Laughing, Loving, and Living  by Denise Hildreth Jones

Another important–and healing–aspect of living with an alive heart comes as a direct result of trusting our big, capable God with our past hurts and failures.  Instead of holding our grudges or deep wounds close or, even worse, holding them over someone else’s head, we learn to let them go and make peace with both our past and present.  This almost always involves forgiving others and ourselves, seeking forgiveness from those we’ve hurt, and then deliberately choosing to let go of our resentments.  Not necessarily “forgive and forget,”  but leaving those hurts and failures in God’s hands and refusing to let them control us.  Again, this will be a process, not a one-time choice.  But it is amazing how making  peace with the past reduces our own controlling tendencies and also protects us from the pain of others’ control tactics.  It’s hard to lay a guilt trip, for instance, on a person who has already dealt with his or her guilt.

See, friend, peace is not the absence of opposition, as a controlling heart would have us believe.  Real peace is the confident, non frantic trust that David talked about in Psalm 131:2–“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

It’s the peace of a person with a reclaimed heart who truly understands how big and dependable God is.

We will never be able to control what people think about us.  We will never be able to control other people’s actions toward us.  We will never be able to control how life will turn out for us.

Sure, we may manipulate these things for a season, but the effect won’t be lasting.  So why wear ourselves out trying?  Why not realize that our God is big enough to take care of everything that concerns us.  Why not rest ourselves on his breast and enjoy what his love and protection afford us—sleep, peaceful sleep, with God, and God only, in control.

Psalm 119:165

Those who love your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Another Level of Trust

Me: I love the turtles in the background.

Prodigal: They are my friend!

Genesis 6:13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to up an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

You probably have heard the story of Noah and the ark. A room in your house that is a nursery may even have that theme with boats and animals all around. Many people have read the story in Genesis verse by verse. I have read it many times myself. This is the first verse where God gives Noah the plan of the ark. Now as you read the verse something caught my eye. God said to Noah. God told Noah. God was speaking to Noah. God did not give this plan to his spouse.

Christian relationships are different because God is with us in every struggle and joy. God is a guiding force and also at times a mediator between struggles and conflict. In those relationships we mature individually and we also mature on paths together. I think we would like to think that God will talk to us together in a big family meeting. We will get the same message at the same time and both have the same happiness for the message. That doesn’t always happen.

Sometimes God chooses to share most of the details about your future with your spouse. You do not get the details. You may know that their is a future and that it might mean going in a certain direction, but He may only give the details to the other spouse.

Read over this story again and we can look that Noah’s wife’s name is not even mentioned. She is all over the story though. She is there while the ship is being built. She goes on the ark and, she is there when a new covenant is made.

This was about Noah taking a direction this time. Noah’s wife really had to have faith and trust in Him. She had to realize that she needs to support instead of taking control. She had to trust that God would give Noah all the direction and guidance. She had to have more trust that Noah would be obedient in the direction the Lord had set forth.

Some of you probably think that sounds easy. Remember though when God guides us, it brings about challenges. Challenges that are meant to grow us and build that relationship with Christ.

Handing over control of the next steps your life is going to take means that you have to trust that person. You may love people but, their is a different intimacy when you trust them to take those steps. When you cannot control how they take certain steps. The goal isn’t control though. The goal really is about supporting with prayer and faith.

Relationships are loving one another but, also you know your spouse loves God. If they love God and are obedient to God you know you can trust them.

Your spouse may not take the exact steps you would choose. Remember though this is is about you not taking control. Have the faith and trust that the process and the outcome will be good for the both of you and also for glorifying God.

Noah’s wife really didn’t seem to do much and, we can forget that she exists. We need to pay attention to the whole story. Look at how she trusted a man to lead her family by an ark when it had never rained on earth. This woman had figured out how to support her husband. This woman had figured out how to really trust God.

This woman did not have to fear details that she did not know or control. This woman made sure she was not a distraction so that her husband could continue his work. This woman was never criticized in this story. In the story of Job, we see a small conflict. Here in the many years it took to built the ark, we do not see conflict. We also did not see conflict on the boat.

True biblical relationship is a partnership and not a dictatorship. Too often I see a dictatorships in relationships and truly both spouses are disappointed in their roles. A partnership means sometimes that you support and sometimes your not really seen up front. Sometimes the attention should be on your spouse and that is wonderful.

The role set out today is one that means being humble and meek. It means that it is a time for your spouse’s relationship with God to shine. How can you see how that relationship will shine if you take control? So much support is given when we pray alone and praise alone.

Fear can divide us, but instead let love bind us.

Genesis 6:22

Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Since I Have My Life Before Me

 

Me:  This is a great picture of you!

Prodigal:  Thank you, we should share it.

Me:  I will after I share about someone else.

 

This is from the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan

 

Written by Brooke Bronkowski at age 12

 

Since I Have My Life Before Me

I’ll live my life to the fullest.  I’ll be happy.  I’ll brighten up.  I will be more joyful than I have ever been.  I will be kind to others.  I will loosen up.  I will tell others about Christ.  I will go on adventures and change the world.  I will be bold and not change who I really am.  I will have no troubles bu instead help others with their troubles.

You see, I’ll be one of those people who live to be history makers at a young age.  Oh, I’ll have moments, good and bad, but I will wipe away the bad and only remember the good.  In fact that’s all I remember, just good moments, nothing in between, just living my life to the fullest.  I’ll be one of those  people who go somewhere with a mission, an awesome plan, a world-changing plan, and nothing will hold me back.  I’ll set an example for others, I will pray for direction.

I have my life before me.  I will give others the joy I have and God will give me more joy.  I will do everything God tells me to do.  I will follow the footsteps of God.  I will do my best!!!

 

During her freshman year in high school, Brooke was in a car accident while driving to the movies.  Her life on earth ended when she was just fourteen, but her impact didn’t.  Nearly fifteen hundred people attended Brooke’s memorial service.  People from her public high school read poems she had written about her love for God.  Everyone spoke of her example and her joy.

I shared the gospel and invited those who wanted to know Jesus to come up and give their lives to Him.  There must have been at least two hundred students on their knees at the front of the church praying for salvation.  Ushers gave a Bible to each of them.  They were Bibles that Brooke had kept in her garage, hoping to give out to all her unsaved friends.  In one day, Brooke led more people to the Lord than most ever will.

 

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip

2 Samuel 22:37

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Just a Slip of the Tongue

Prodigal:  I wonder what is wrong with him?

Me:  Sometimes we really don’t know and we need to love and pray.

Prodigal:  I agree.

This is from the book  God Came Near by Max Lucado

These practical steps will purge careless words from your talk.

  1.  Never tell jokes that slander.
  2. Never criticize in public unless you:  have already expressed your disappointment with the other person in private, have already taken someone with you to discuss the grievance with the person, and are absolutely convinced that public reprimand is necessary and will be helpful.
  3. Never say anything about anyone in their absence that you wouldn’t say in their presence.

Watching your tongue is very important since you are following God.  Satan would like to discredit you at all cost.  You may think you have control over “those bigger temptations” but Satan can easily trip you up with the smaller ones, that would include your mouth.  Watch, pray and love others.  That is your direction for the day.

After this manner therefore pray ye:  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Matthew 6:9

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Mature Relationship

 

Prodigal:  The Lords works are amazing!

Me:  Yes, I agree and we should Praise Him!

 

This is from the book  The Dynamics of Worship by James P. Gills, M.D.

 

Many Christians have begun to discover the inadequacy of mere knowledge of God through His Word or even of their dedication to Him.  They have practiced both of these concepts from their youth, and yet, much to their dis may, admit that their hearts remain stone cold toward God.  They don’t love Him at all.  Something is missing–the zeal, the passion that marks a true worshiper.

A mature relationship with the Lord embodies three components:  knowledge of Him, covenant with Him, and worship of Him.  These elements represent the complete love of God.  If the relationship is to grow in a healthy manner, they must be present in equal measure.  The three enhance one another in a kind of divine synergy.  From worship comes an expansion of intimate knowledge and covenant, which in turn reinforces worship even further.  Each element complements and completes the other two, but worship kindles the fire of passion for God.

 

Angels worship and so should we.

 

For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.

Ephesians 5:9

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

 

 

Nearness of Christ

Me:  I’m enjoying the walk today.

Prodigal:  Me too!

Me:  How can we bring God into this?

Prodigal:  Maybe you can share?

 

We had forgotten You, or very nearly—

You did not seem to touch us very nearly—

Of course we thought about You now and then;

Especially in any time of trouble–

We knew that You were good in time of trouble–

But we are very ordinary men.

 

And there were always other things to think of–

There’s lots of things a man has got to think of–

His work, his home, his pleasure, and his wife;

And so we only thought of You on Sunday–

Sometimes, perhaps, not even on a Sunday–

Because there’s always lots to fill one’s life.

 

And, all the while, in street or lane or byway–

In country lane, in city street, or byway–

You walked among us, and we did not see.

Your feet were bleeding as You walked our pavements–

How did we miss Your Footprints on our pavements?–

Can there be other folk as blind as we?

 

Now we remember…..

 

We think about You kneeling in the Garden–

Ah!  God!  the agony of that dread Garden–

 

We know You prayed for us upon the Cross.

If anything could make us glad to bear it–

“Twould be the knowledge that You willed to bear it–

Pain-death-the uttermost of human loss.

 

Though we forgot You-You will not forget us–

We feel so sure that You will not forget us–

But stay with us until this dream is past.

And so we ask for courage, strength, and pardon–

Especially, I think, we ask for pardon–

And that You’ll stand beside us to the last.

 

Author Unknown

 

And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush:  and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.  Exodus 3:2

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

A Complex Emotion

Me:  This doesn’t look like much…

Prodigal:  It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it is good here.

Me:  I agree, God values a lot because He sees the truth.

This is from the book:  So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

You can hurt my feelings, but you cannot have my security.

I won’t let you.  It’s mine to keep.  You cannot have it.

You can criticize me and even be right about what I did wrong, but you do not

get to damage my security.  It’s mine to keep.  You cannot have it.

You might have embarrassed me, but I refuse to let it fall on me

so heavily that it smothers my security.  It’s mine to keep.

You cannot have it.

You may be so intimidating and threatening that I feel I have to hand a lot of things to you,

but I refuse to hand over my security.  Who are you doesn’t get to dwarf who I am.

My security is mine to keep.  You cannot have it.

Now therefore arise, O Lord God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of strength:  let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothes with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.

2 Chronicles 6:41

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

What God Made

Prodigal: The sand feels amazing under my feet!

Me: I love the sounds, the smells and the warmth of the sun at the beach.

I could see only a couple, not as many as if I was back home. The few I did see memorized my attention. What was around me became smaller as I gazed upon them. I wondered about how they were made. They were different sizes and, some appeared clearer than others. What history did they hold? Who had been memorized by them other than myself? I am sure their have been millions that existed of all ages and, at all time frames. Some people have quickly peeked and some took years to study their beauty.

For me on this night I was thinking of the creator. The Lord our God made these stars millions, billions of years ago. They shine for us every night that the sky is clear. Thousands of generations of families have used them to guide them, give them joy and, delight in their shiny appearance. They have outlived the ones who studied them, who ignored them and, who honored them.

All I could think about is how wonderfully they were made. My gaze looked down and I saw street lamps around me. How long has that street lamp been around. It is not new. It has dirt and missing paint on it. How old is it though, 15 years? I look back at the stars. How old are you star that is small but still bright enough to see? I would guess you are older than 15 years.

God’s creations really do stand the test of time. Just look around. Man can do a good job. People can praise man, and they can make amazing objects that shine brightly for a long time. Just look at the street lamps. They cannot out shine the stars at night. You disagree? You think people cry out about the beauty of street lamps? You think the street lamps are studied and mapped out and admired for years on in? How long do you think these street lamps can last? Wait until the bulbs burn out. How will the street lamps compare to the stars then. The stars will then easily out power those things that are of man.

For me this night ,was a reminder of how the ministry works that God has given, should be made. There are more ministry workers and ministries than we can count that are made and run all on men’s strength. They out shine some other ministries at times. Which ministry has the real power, which ministry will last?

Just as stars that are God made, ministries that are God made will out shine everything else. The ministry that God has made and uses God’s power just cannot compare with something that is man made. For me I want to be part of something that God has made, not what man has made. There is something memorizing about Gods’ ministries that you can’t ignore and draws you in. It kinda is like looking at the stars and getting lost in the beauty of the creation.

Sometimes we get stuck in the cities so long and, see so many street lamps, we forget the stars. We forget how wonderful they really are. We think street lamps have the power of the stars. What we don’t see is how they are always changing things to try and appear bright. They have to continually change their bulbs to try and catch up. Take one storm, one power outage, one problem with the electrical system and they cannot function.

Now remember the sun, our closest star. When one the last time it didn’t work in a day. Even during a storm, a power outage or the coldest day. Yes, the stars, that is what I want my ministry to look like. Yes, God help the ministry to look like the stars.

1 Corinthians 15:28

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org