Archaeology

Prodigal:  I just finished digging and finding shells.

Me:  Well I am going to talk about some other type of digging.

This comes from the book The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Archaeologist John McRay said there’s no question that archaeological findings have enhanced the New Testament’s credibility.  No discovery has ever disproved a biblical reference.  Further, archaeology has established that Luke, who wrote about one-quarter of the New Testament, was an especially careful historian.  Concluded one expert, “If Luke was so painstakingly accurate in his historical reporting (of minor details), on what logical basis may we assume he was credulous or inaccurate in his reporting of matters that were far more important, not only to him but to others as well?”

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

A Prayer

Prodigal: Sometimes times seems as slow as molasses.

Me: Sometimes it does.

“I am just going to pray that the Holy Spirit will find me a stud!” I told my brother on the phone. He laughed and said “That sounds like a great prayer!” As we both finished laughing. We said our goodbyes, and ended the conversation.

As soon as the call was finished, I thought to myself. I am serious. I need help. What my humor failed to voice on the phone was my feelings of inadequacy. This was an area that I knew I struggled in. Not only did I struggle in it, to be honest it confused me at times.

I felt to do this all alone was overwhelming. I wanted someone to do it for me. I wanted it all to be finished. That was not an option.

I knew I was alone in all this. It was me and God.

At this point, I know you want to ask. Did God answer my prayer? Why yes He did. He was with me, and He was answered quickly.

By the end of the night God had helped me find a stud. I had a small project that I needed to be done that night, and it was late. I really had not planned it all out. So here I was late in the night attempting to nail some items into the wall so that I could create something that would store new items.

The only problem, was that when it comes to handy man jobs, I am at a complete lost. When my brother said that I need to make sure I find a stud, my mind began to question what I had got myself into.

Lord has blessed me with several gifts, but there is a reason God is never going to ask me to build an ark, or even a birdhouse….

I was faced with not being able to get help, and needed this completed quickly. So here I was on the phone with my brother for a couple of minutes, and he was informing me to find a stud.

I was overwhelmed.

Where do you go when you are overwhelmed? Do you give up? Do you throw money at the problem? Do you go to sleep? How about just doing without? I have done all of these options before. In my weariness of the moment, and also my fear. I just turned to the Lord.

I thought for a second, how is God going to help me find a stud in the wall, and make this project happen? I pretty sure there is not a bible verse on finding a stud. Was Jesus going to show up in my house, and grab a hammer? (I wish). In the logical thoughts, and present situation it seemed even silly to think a prayer, and the Lord would help.

There is another side. The Holy Spirit living inside of me that let me know that God does care. That God wants to help me. So which do a choose?

I chose to pray. I trusted in the Lord that He really loves me, and that He says He will never leave me. So how did God do it?

He didn’t change my environment. Nobody knocked on my door in that minute to complete the task. The project was not suddenly completed without me having to lift a finger. No what happened is as I started, God gave me wisdom. What I was looking for started to make sense when I had never had any of this make sense to me before. God also calmed my heart, and gave me strength to do what I needed to do.

The Lord’s promises were true, and we can trust Him in everything. We can trust Him in the areas we feel overwhelmed, and insecure about. We can trust Him when we have no idea what the next five minutes will look like.

Am I going to attempt a birdhouse now? No, but I do know God will be with me, and when I need Him, I can count on Him. Even if I need to find a stud.

I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

PSALM 116 : 13

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Doctrinal Dehydration

Prodigal:  I am thirsty after one of those cookies.

Me:  Yes, a glass of milk would be great!

Prodigal:  I agree.

Me:  I will also share while we enjoy.

This is from the book The Soul Winner by C.H. Spurgeon

I hate to hear the terrors of the Lord proclaimed by men whose hard countenances, harsh tones, and unfeeling spirits betray a sort of doctrinal dehydration:  all the milk of human kindness is dried out of them.  Having no feeling himself, such a preacher creates none.  The people sit and listen while he keeps to dry, lifeless statements.  They come to value him for being “sound,”  and they themselves come to be sound, too.  I need not add, sound asleep.  What life they have is spent sniffing out heresy and making earnest men offenders for a word.  May we never be baptized into this spirit!

Whatever I believe, or do not believe, the command to love my neighbor as myself still retains its claim upon me.  God forbid that any views or opinions should so contract my soul and harden my heart as to make me forget this law of love!  Love for God is first, but by no means lessens the obligation of love for man.  In fact, the first commandment includes the second.  We are to seek our neighbors’ conversion because we love them.  We are to speak to them in terms of God’s loving Gospel because our hearts desire their eternal good.

See some think that their works mean they are good enough to get to heaven.  This is a lie from Satan, and in reality they are going straight to hell.  We are called to express the gospel all the time because we do not know who may need to hear the gospel even those fellow members at our church.

Psalm 5:1

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Spiritual Community

Prodigal:  Birds of a feather like to flock together.

Me:  Very true, but in Christ community we are different too.

Prodigal:  Yes, that should be the case.

This is from the book  Prophetic Voices in Contemporary Theology by Alvin Porteous

The church as a community of love presupposes a relationship between members which “expresses itself in mutual acceptance in spite of the separations which take place because the church is a sociologically determined group.”  This means that the cohesive which holds the church together is not manufactured out of the natural preferences of people which are rooted in social, economic, educational, racial, or temperamental compatibilities.  The “glue” which unites people of varying backgrounds and dispositions into a Spiritual Community is the reconciling love of the cross which unconditionally affirms the other person in terms of his essential humanity.  The reuniting power of agape, not the chumminess of social affinity, is the basis for a true Spiritual Community.

We can only agape our love for each other with the help of the holy spirit. That means we must pray for each other.  I know that person is not mature in Christ.  I know they attacked you out of the flesh.  I know that you are trying to love.  This is what you have to understand, is that they are reacting in the flesh, and we need to respond in the spirit.

Psalms 5:12

For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Do Not Be Afraid

Prodigal:  This church is different then mine.

Me:  Yes, but the focus is if Christ died for our sins, and we are saved by faith.

Prodigal:  That is the best focus.

Don’t be afraid of the world.  You have nothing to fear from the world.  Christ has already told you He has overcome it.  Engage it.  Understand it.  Know why people think the way they think, what they care about, what they’re afraid of, what makes them laugh, and what keeps them up at three in the morning.  Remember the first Bible verse you ever learned:  “For God so loved the world. ”  God does love the world, and the sign of a God is to love the things He loves.”

Do not be afraid of the church, in what she described as ” all of its multi-hued, chaotic, messy glory.”  Get to know believers of other stripes,  there will be days when you think, God has no standards and no taste.  Other days, of course, this is what gives you hope for yourself.  Instead of being fenced in behind denominational boundaries and caught up in theological squabbles, do not be afraid of other worship styles or different denominational norms.

by Shannon Wright

The Lord Jesus Christ our Savior is our focus, and with that their is no fear.  He is with us till the ends of the earth, and we can find unity in it with others.

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 11:19

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

All That We Can Give

 

Prodigal:  The morning has started out slow.

Me:  I agree.  It just seems that there are distractions.

Prodigal:  Let’s share a story then.

 

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

 

On Thanksgiving Day I awoke on the mattress that I shared with my two young children and tumbles into despair.  At the time I was twenty-five and recently divorced.  It was three days to payday and there was no money left.  I had a job, but was only making $300 a month, and that month’s entire paycheck had already gone to pay for the apartment and food for my little boys.  I had swallowed my pride and applied for food stamps, but had been turned down-because I made two dollars over the monthly limit.

On that Thanksgiving Day, there was nothing left to eat in the house but three hot dogs.

Perhaps hardest of all was my feeling of isolation.  There was no friends to help.  No one had invited us to share the holiday dinner.  The loneliness was worse than the ever-present hunger.

But it was Thanksgiving, and for the sake of the children, I knew I had to make the best of the day.

“Come on, boys,” I said.  “Today’s a special day.  We’re having a picnic!”

Together the three of us went to the park and cooked the hot dogs on the grill.  We played happily together until late in the afternoon.

But on the way home, the boys asked for more food.  The single hot dog they had eaten did not come close to being a decent meal.  I knew they were hungrier even than they let on.

I tried to joke about it with them, but inside I was very, very scared.  I didn’t know where our next meal was going to come from.  I’d reached the end of my rope.

As we entered our apartment building, an old woman I’d never seen before stepped directly into our path.  She was a tiny thing wearing a simple print dress, her wispy white hair pulled up in a bun.  With her smile of greeting, she looked like a kindhearted tutu, and island grandmother.

“Oh, Honey,” the old lady said as the boys and I started to walk past.  “I’ve been waiting for you.  You left this morning before I could catch you.  I’ve got Thanksgiving dinner ready for your family.”

Caught by surprise, I thought that I shouldn’t accept such an offer from a complete stranger.  With a word of thanks, I started to brush past.

“Oh,” said the old lady, “but it’s Thanksgiving.  You have to come.”

I looked at my boys.  Their hunger tore at me.  Even though it was against my better judgement, I accepted.

The old lady’s apartment was on the ground floor.  When she opened the door, we saw a beautiful table set for four.  It was the perfect Thanksgiving meal with all the traditional trimmings.  The candles were lit and it was obvious that guests were expected.  We were expected.

Gradually I began to relax.  We all sat down together to enjoy the meal.  Somehow, I found myself talking freely of my loneliness, the difficulty of raising two small boys by myself and of the challenges I was facing.  The grandmotherly woman listened with compassion and understanding.  I remember I felt that for that time, at least, we were home.

As the evening ended, I wondered how I could possibly express my thanks for such incredible kindness.  Eyes brimming, I simply said, “Thank you.  I know that now I can go on.”  A complete stranger had reached out and given our little family such an important gift.   The boys were grinning from ear to ear as the elderly lady loaded them down with Tupperware bowls full of leftovers.

We left her apartment that evening bubbling with joy, the boys joking and laughing.  For the first time in a long time, I felt certain that I could face what had to be faced.  I was a different person from the scared girl  I had been that morning.  I’d somehow been transformed.  We all had.

Early the next day, in a happy mood, I went back to visit my new friend and to return the borrowed bowls.  I knocked, but there was no answer.  I looked through an open window.

What I saw shocked me.  The apartment was completely empty.  There wasn’t a stick of furniture.  There wasn’t anything.

I hurried down to the manager’s apartment.  “What happened to the elderly lady in apartment three?” I asked.

He gave me a look and said, “What lady?  That apartment’s been vacant for the past ten or twelve weeks.  Nobody lives there.”

 

And he said unto me, It is done.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I will give unto him that is a thrist of the fountain of water of life freely.

Revelation 21:6

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

You’ll Live On

 

Prodigal:  It is a nice day!

Me:  Yes, but sometimes people can distract from the nice day!

Prodigal:  Let’s focus then, because we do not want a distraction.

 

If you are fought and criticized,

If you are hated and despised,

Because you stand against the wrong,

And will not travel with the throng,

Go forth with courage in your heart

To always do the noble part;

Don’t quit for what the critic said,

For you’ll live on when he is dead.

 

When men use dope and nicotine,

Or drink until they’re wild and mean,

Indulge in things you know are bad,

Form habits that may run them mad,

And will not heed your warning voice,

Nor make the better, wiser choice,

Look up, and do not fear nor dread,

For you’ll live on when they are dead.

 

When men who fight the truth and preach

And turn their back when you beseech,

Resolved to do what they desire,

Although it sinks them in the mire,

Fret not because you find it so,

As on the path of life you go;

Be happy in your heart instead,

For you’ll live on when they are dead.

 

When you have stood for what is clean,

Opposed the vulgar, low and mean,

And held God’s holy banner high,

 

For men to see, as they go by,

That they may take the upward road,

That leads to Heaven’s blest abode;

But if they will not be so led,

Then you’ll live on when they are dead.

 

Great men of truth and God and right

Have had opposing men to fight;

It has been so throughout the past,

And in the future days will last;

But when these men with purpose wrong

Have run their little road along,

In spite of all you’ve done or said,

Then you’ll live on when they are dead

By  Walter Isenhour

 

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 54:13

 

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Lukewarm Again

 

Me:  It is good to just be thankful sometimes in our lives.

Prodigal:  I agree!

Me:  I am thankful that the Lord has given me those who love me.

 

This is from the book  Crazy Love by Francis Chan

 

Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends.  They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion.

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men,  I will disown him before my father in heaven (Matt 10:32-33)

 

 

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 6:29

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org