Do the Right Thing

!

 

Prodigal:  I’m ready to eat!

Me:  Me too!

Prodigal:  But since the food is not here, just share with us.

Me:  This is from something I just read.

 

A Time for Remembering The Ruth Bell Graham Story by Patricia Daniels Cornwell

 

The Grahams, T.W. Wilson, Grady Wilson, and Calvin Thielman left the ranch late that afternoon by car, heading for San Antonio as the setting sun broke through the black clouds, splashing red and gold over the wet pavement.  The next morning, when no cameras or microphones were there to record events, they sat in the San Antonio airport eating breakfast.  A woman across the room eyes Billy for several minutes, her face bleak as though the wretchedness of all the world were held in a tiny knot in her heart.  Finally, she mustered enough courage to approach him.

“May I talk to you for just a minute?”  she said shakily.

Billy nodded for Calvin to move aside.  He listened to her.  Then, heads bowed, he prayed with her.  When she left, tears in her eyes, Calvin apologized to Billy for not shielding him so he could finish his breakfast before his eggs were cold.

“No,”  Billy said.  “You did the right thing.  Her mother is dying from cancer and her heart is very heavy.  She wanted me to pray for her.”

 

Remember the people are the most important thing.  It is not the food, it is not your closest friends.  It is God being the focus in your interactions with others.

 

But the Lord is in his holy temple:  let all the earth keep silence before him.

Habakkuk 2:20

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodialpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Luke Warm

 

Me:  I am glad you are back!

Prodigal:  Yes, it took a while but I maintained my focus.

Me:  Good, It is a joy to see you.

 

This is from the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan

 

“Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:12-14).

 

Luke warm People will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money and energy they are willing to give.

 

God wants to stretch your serving.  He wants your private life with Christ to outshine your public ministry.  Trust Him and do not be luke warm.

 

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Who Do We Worship?

 

Me:  The music is interesting.

Prodigal:  I wonder what people think when we sing for the Lord.

Me:  Well, we can worship in song but also with words.

Prodigal: Really?

Me:  Yes, Let me share some ways to worship.

 

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

 

Who do we worship?

He is, first of all Elohim, the eternal Creator who always was and always will be; and He is El Shaddai, our strength, the source of comfort, confidence, and nourishment.  He is Jehovah-jireh, who has seen our needs and provided for them even before we know them, and Jehovah-nissi, the One who still calls us to rally around Him so He can perform miracles on our behalf.  He is Jehovah-rophe, our kind Physician, and Jehovah-shalom, our peace in every situation, regardless of how circumstances may appear.  Jehovah-tsidkenu gives us His righteousness in exchange for our sins, and Jehovah-m’kaddesh sets us apart for His purposes through His own precious blood.  He is Jehovah-shammath, who is always present with us and in us, and Jehovah-rohi, the gentle Shepherd who leads us to quiet waters and green pastures.  Jehovah-elyon is the Most High exalted above all, and Jehovah-hoseenu knows us even in our mother’s womb.  Jehovah-eloheenu is the Lord our God;  Jehovah-eloheka is the Lord, Israel’s God; and Jehovah-elohay is the Lord my God.  Finally, He is Jehovah-sabaoth, the Lord of all the hosts of heaven and Earth.

 

This is who we worship!  Kinda of amazing isn’t it!

 

And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

2 kings 23:25

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

We Stubbornly Believe

 

Me:  Sometimes it seems like a long journey to where we need to be.

Prodigal:  Yes, we can become tired if we focus on the distance instead of who is with us along this journey.

Me:  How right you are.

 

This is from the book All of Grace by C.H. Spurgeon

 

It does sound surprising does it not, that it should be possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man?  We, according to our natural reliance on good works for our salvation, are always talking about our own goodness and our own worthiness.  We stubbornly believe that there must be something in us in order to win the notice of God.  Now, God, who sees through all deceptions, knows that there is no goodness whatsoever in us.  He says that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).  He knows that “all our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6)  Therefore, the Lord Jesus did not come into the world expecting to find goodness and righteousness, but to bestow them upon those who do not have them.  He comes, not because we are just, but to make us so;  He “justifieth the ungodly.”

 

That is why we should be reminded of who we are in Christ.  We also praise Him because He is with us.

 

Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Spiritual Disciplines

Me:  It can be tough to believe right now.

Prodigal:  Yes, I am struggling with doubt at the moment.

Me:  Let’s gain some insight.

This is from the book  Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster

Neither should we think of Spiritual Disciplines as some dull drudgery aimed at exterminating laughter from the face of the earth.  Joy is the keynote of all the Disciplines.  The purpose of the Disciplines is liberation from the stifling slavery to self-interest and fear.  When the inner spirit is liberated from all that weighs it down, it can hardly be described as dull drudgery.  Singing, dancing, even shouting characterize the Disciplines of the spiritual life.

Feeling weighed down?  Fear has taken over.  You have not even been aware how fear has slowly taken over your emotions.  The Lord has not called us to fear but to release our burden to him.  When you have done that then your joy, and laughter will soon follow.

Proverbs 12:1

Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge:  but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

To Learn Christ

Prodigal:  I am waiting for church.

Me:  I think we have enough time to share about Christ.

Prodigal:  I think you do have enough time.

This is from Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss

I have just been to see Mrs. Campbell.  In answer to my routine lamentations, she took up a book, and read me…”Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in you.”

I said despondently, “If peace can only be found at the end of such hard roads, I am sure I shall always be miserable.”

“Are you miserable now?”  she asked.

“Yes, just now I am.   I am in a disheartened mood, weary of going round and round in circles, committing the same sins, uttering the same confessions, and making no advance.”

“My dear,” she said after a time, “have you a perfectly distinct, settled view of what Christ is to the human soul?”

“I do  not know.  I understand, of course, more or less perfectly that my salvation depends on Him alone;  it is His gift.”

“But do you see with equal clearness that your sanctification must be as fully His gift as your salvation is?”

“No,” I said after a little thought.  “I have had a feeling that He has done His part and now I must do mine.”

“My dear,” she said with much tenderness and feeling, “then the first thing you have to do is to learn Christ.”

“But how?”

“On your knees, my child, on your knees.”

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

Hebrews 12:2

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodgialpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

All Over Again

Prodigal: That sure is darn pretty.

Me: Thank you, it took some time.

I am finishing up my first quilt. It has been a long process. I have tried to sneak in the time several times a month to spend hours sewing the quilt. In the process I have enjoyed seeing it take shape.

I had just finished the first border around the quilt. I was working on the second border of the quilt. I wanted to finish it that Saturday.

The quilt had been going along nicely. I could see the finish line approaching. I had several compliments from how it was looking. I wanted to rush ahead, and complete this part. That Saturday with the other ladies around, I pushed myself. I had to pin the second border to the quilt after the fabric was cut.

I looked around and a lot of chatter was taking place around me with the other ladies. My friend who is helping me, also was chatting, and seemed happy. I decided that I could do this on my own. I decided that I did not need to ask for guidance, or to make sure I was doing everything correctly.

I sew three of the four borders on, and then I am trying to complete the last one. It was getting late. I was getting tired, and my body is telling me it is time to eat soon. I know that I need to start packing up. My friend comes over, and looks at the quilt. Right away she shows me, how I sewed the border in such a way that it will come undone after a while. I did not sew it in a way that reinforced the fabric together. This would make the seams weaker where I sewed. It would not take many washes in the washing machine before it would start coming undone.

The only solution then was to rip out some of the stitches and redo everything. I then knew, looking at the time, I could not finish. This was going to take another day.

I was not upset. I could see my action in all this. I accept the suffering that my mistakes had made. That allowed me to move on, and figure out where to go from there. I will be doing some extra work this week. That is something I can tell you. It is better to find out now, then later on when I find out I have a quilt that is not sturdy and not able to hold up.

This is something as Christians we do not like to admit. We often will be too independent of God. We may see part of a plan. We may agree with the plan. So we rush ahead, and forget to continue to check in with God to make sure that this was the way we are suppose to complete the plan. Then at some point God shows up, and says that plan made things weaker.

See God is interested in not just giving you blessings, your heart’s desires or a good future. He wants to make sure you have the foundation right so that the blessings, heart’s desires, and future will not unravel with one thread at the first sign of difficulty.

The truth is that our lives are delayed sometimes not because of God, but because our spirits are too independent. We are not checking in with God. We have to go back, and fix the weak parts that were created because we did things on our own. That is the only way to move forward, and complete the project.

With that process, it does seem like suffering. We are not good at accepting suffering that we ourselves have made. Sometimes we just need to admit, I have more work today. I have more work because of my path I choose. Don’t blame others. Don’t blame God. Just accept, and get started.

Lord, I sometimes think I know the way on my own, but I need you to continue to guide me. Some days the Lord will tell you you are doing well. Some days there are minor corrections. Some days there are major corrections, but in all of them there is love. God is guiding you to make sure that you are strong.

My quilt might take longer now. Probably just a day longer. It is ok. I have accepted that. I am glad I found out now. I want not only a beautiful quilt, but a strong one also.

Nehemiah 7:2

That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man and Feared God above many.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Sound the Alarm

 

Prodigal:  I am prepared in case of an emergency.

Me:  Good because we do not know what might happen.

 

This is from A. Bl Simpson

 

Sound the alarm through the earth and the heavens!

Summon the slumbering world to attend!

Jesus is coming!  the hour is impending!

Sound the alarm to earth’s uttermost end!

 

Sound the alarm in the ears of the sinner!

Haste, ere the time of probation be past!

Now is the day of salvation, improve it;

Mercy long lingers, but doom comes at last.

 

Sound the alarm to the slumbering Christian!

Are you prepared should the Bridegroom appear,

Oil in your vessels, your lamps trimmed and burning?

Brother, be ready, the Master is near.

 

Sound the alarm to the millions that wander

Out in the darkness of heathendom’s night!

Tell them the King of all kingdoms is coming;

Tell them of Jesus, and send them the light.

 

Sound the alarm to the scoffers and worldlings!

Look here ye mocked at His grace and His word.

“Look, ye despisers and wonder, and perish,

Where shall you hide in the day of the Lord?”

 

 

 

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:3

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Are You Surprised

Prodigal:  My friend has some questions about godliness.

Me:  I was just reading about that.

This is from the book All of Grace by C.H. Spurgeon

Are you surprised that there is such an expression as that in the Bible, “That justifieth the ungodly”?  I have heard that men who hate the doctrines of the Cross bring the charge against God that He saves wicked men and receives to Himself the vilest of the vile.  See how this Scripture accepts the charge and plainly states it!  By the mouth of His servant, Paul; by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, He takes to Himself the title of “Him that justifieth the ungodly.”  He makes those just who are unjust. He forgives those who deserve no favor.  Did you think that salvation was for the good and that God’s grace was for the pure and holy who are free from sin?  Perhaps you think that if you were excellent, then God would reward you.  Maybe you have thought that, because you are not worthy, there could be no way for you to enjoy His favor.  You must be  somewhat surprised to read a text like this:  “Him that justifieth the ungodly.”  I do not wonder at your surprise.  For, with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder at it, either.

To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 4:5

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org