Greater Than Our Hearts

Prodigal: I am looking for the perfect strawberry.

Me: There is no perfect strawberry’s but a lot of good ones.

This is from the book Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey

God makes clear that he accepts us-more, delights in us–as individual bearers of his image. We do not always sense that divine love, of course. Self-doubt and despair may steal in, as had happened among those the apostle John was addressing. Sometimes “our hearts condemns us,” John acknowledges, but “God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” When the New Testament translator J.B. Philips came across that passage from 1 John, it seemed to leap off the page. Phillips explains, “Like many others, I find myself something of a perfectionist, and if we don’t watch ourselves this obsession for the perfect can make us arrogantly critical of other people, and in certain moods, desperately critical of ourselves.” Phillips suffered from clinical depression, and when the dark moods descended he would wallow in condemnation and feel no mercy. Ever after, he clung to the words of that verse. “It is almost as if John is saying, “if God loves us, who are we to be so high and mighty as to refuse to love ourselves?”

Luke 11:35

Be careful therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Me: It’s getting dark.

Prodigal: It will be dark as a cup of truck-stop coffee soon.

Me: We should finish our walk then.

This is a short video devotion on proverbs

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 6:6

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

Jennifer Van Allen

Optical Illusions

Me: That looks like fruit.

Prodigal: It is just an illusion, it is painted on the table.

Me: You have to pay attention to tell the difference.

Prodigal: Paying attention is important.

This is from God Will Make A Way: Stories of Hope

Is what you see what you get?

Not always.

An entire room of a fifteenth-century Italian palace was once put on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. One wall of the room had twelve wooden cupboards whose open doors revealed about a hundred objects on the shelves, including an ancient hourglass, a celestial globe, old leather books, and various musical instruments. The wall space around the cupboards was paneled, and benches lined the sides of the room.

Unfortunately, some nearsighted visitors occasionally tried to it on those benches, only to discover that the entire room was an optical illusion. Each wall was a flat surface.

More than 500,000 pieces of wood in various shapes and colors had been used to create the perspective and shadows that made the walls of the room look three-dimensional.

We may think today that we are looking reality squarely in the face, but unless we accommodate the spiritual dimension of any particular person, activity, event, experience, or relationship, we are experiencing an optical illusion. We are not fully seeing the plan God has in mind. The only way to see the world as God sees it is to ask the Holy Spirit to impart that ability to us. We cannot see as God sees by our own willpower or design. Genuine insight and wisdom come from within and are possible only as we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives.

What we regard as a failure may actually be the open door to a tremendous success. What we view as a limitation may truly be a protection. What we define as a trial may be a growing process. What we conclude to be a loss may actually be a gain. Only God can take the trials and tragedies in our lives and turn them into blessings.

Ask the Lord to give you His perspective and His understanding in every situation you face.

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the thing which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

Jennifer Van Allen

God Holds All Things Together

Prodigal: What is going on today?

Me: Aaron is falling over himself four ways to Friday trying to get here today.

Prodigal: Glad he could join us.

Me: Yes, and now I can share!

This is from Joni Eareckson Tada

God doesn’t just watch [harm] happen-he lets it happen. What is accidental from our perspective was specifically allowed by God. He who holds all things together must sustain the very molecules of the brick and axehead as they fly toward their mark (Colossians 3:17).

….Evil can only raise its head where God deliberately backs away–always for reasons that are specific, wise, and good, but often hidden during this present life…

….God sees the evil already there and steers it to serve his good purposes and not merely Satan’s viperous ones. It’s as if he says, “So you want to sin? Go ahead–but I’ll make sure you sin in a way that ultimately furthers my ends even while you’re shaking your fist in my face.” This is why we can accept troubles as ultimately from God even when the most dreadful people deliver them.

I think some of you are reading this and are confused. You have been dealing with sin from people who are serving Satan and not God. It is frustrating, it is hurtful and it is exhausting. You don’t dare say it out loud to others, but you think God forgot something in this plan. He forgot to stop some of these attacks. He forgot to bring you more blessings for having to go through them. He forgot to make them just stop!

Then you hear Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Are you tired of Romans 8:28? Are you convinced there is a loop hole for how this verse cannot apply to you?

Well, God’s word is true, but you may not be able to understand it now. Sometimes, time has to pass for us to understand the complicated,loving and detailed plan of our Father.

I don’t have an answer for you today, but what I do know that you can Trust GOD! He will not show you everything right now, but Satan is not winning. You are not failing and God will show you a way back to the mountain top!

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: How is the work going?

Me: We are getting it done.

Prodigal: I am here with you.

This is a short video devotion.

Click here to watch the video

Proverbs 6:5

Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net. (NLT)

Jennifer Van Allen

Tracing the Hand of the Creator

Me: Prodigal, your friend has nice shades!

Prodigal: They look good on him!

Me: I agree!

This is from the book Exceeding Gratitude for the Creator’s Plan by the James P. Gills, M.D.

Charles Darwin expressed doubt regarding his own theory of origins when he considered the marvel of the human eye. He said: “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seem, I confess, absurd in the highest degree” The human eye, which mystified Darwin, is so sophisticated that it still eludes full explanation by modern science. All of the separate components of the body, as observed by twenty-first century scientists, would allow by equally surprising to him as indications of deep design and divinely inspired complexity.

We can look in the mirror and see the marvel of what the Lord has made. Even reading write now, is a blessing that we have and use all the time. Lord we just need to look at ourselves to see the most complex, wonderfully made, amazing piece of art every made!

In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.

Jennifer Van Allen

A New Day

Me: This morning is wonderful!

Prodigal: Yes, why do you think so.

Me: The Lord is with us and guiding us.

This is from the book This is my Story This is my Song by Norman F. Blosat with Elva Blosat

“Behold, you stand on the threshold of a new day. I have great things in store for you, for I shall bring to pass a new thing. Many have cried to Me out of hungry hearts and have received My fullness and My glory. Many shall come to know Me in the reality of My power, those who up until now have not seen or dreamed of such a thing. This is the day of the preparation of the coming of the Lord. Many shall rejoice together in the Spirit’s work who are now at the sword’s point over doctrinal disputes and barriers of tradition; but let your heart be encouraged, a new day is dawning. I shall bring to pass a new thing, a day of gathering and repentance, says the Lord. I am the Lord and I shall be worshiped in spirit and in truth. The world is waiting for a robust church to minister to its needs, but how can a hurting, dismembered Body bring healing to a sick and dying world? By prophecies and by signs and wonders, and by healings I will reaffirm the veracity of My Word and bring the gospel of redemption to many who would otherwise not hear that I AM the Great I AM-the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Be faithful regardless of apparent failures and discouragements. My Word shall surely be fulfilled. The race is not to the swift, but to the obedient. Thus saith the Lord!”

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Luke 11:2

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: She could find a whisper in a whirlwind.

Me: Impressive, I could learn from her.

Prodigal: God gives her the wisdom.

This is a short video devotion.

Click here to watch the devotion

Proverbs 6:4

Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids (KJV)

Jennifer Van Allen

Fruit Bearers

Prodigal: Look at that young buck!

Me: Yes, he is keeping up with us out here.

Prodigal: Tell us a story as we continue.

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

As a missionary, the phrase “harvest” in this verse intrigued me. I began to examine some cross-references of what the Bible calls “harvest” or “season of fruit.” I came to Mark 11:13-14, which tells the story about Jesus cursing a fig tree. The fig tree had a lot of “showy leaves” from a distance, but when Jesus began to look for real fruit, there was none.

In Eastern Europe, there is an abundance of Orthodox churches with gold cupolas and ornate crosses atop. In fact, the casual visitor might think, Why do we need missionaries here? There are plenty of churches with crosses. These are the “showy leaves from a distance”; in reality, there is great spiritual hypocrisy and fruitlessness.

But cursing the tree? Isn’t that a little harsh? Isaiah 5:2,4 says that God expects fruitfulness. Judgement is always the case for worthless fruit. The Lord’s way is personal relationship-building, not personal kingdom-building. It’s a good reminder to examine our own lives and ministry. Are we abiding in Christ to produce real fruit, or are we producing showy leaves?

As a believer, I try to balance what I do for God and my relationship with God. In societies where 1 percent of the population know Christ, it’s easy to get drawn away from a deep walk with God.

In her book Empowered! Claiming the Power of the Holy Spirit, Esther Burroughs writes, “We are humbled when we recognize the working of the Holy Spirit in and through us. When the Spirit chooses us as a vessel to point to Jesus, we become the fruit bearers, no the fruit producers.”

B.B.H, Central and Eastern Europe

When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. Matthew 21:34

Jennifer Van Allen

What A God!

Prodigal: This is beautiful what God made!

Me: Yes, it is and that reminds me of something else.

This is from the book In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado

Ponder the achievement of God.

He doesn’t condone our sin, nor does he compromise his standard.

He doesn’t ignore our rebellion, nor does he relax his demands.

Rather than dismiss our sin, he assumes our sin and, incredibly, sentences himself.

God’s holiness is honored. Our sin is punished….

and we are redeemed.

God does what we cannot do so we can be what we dare not

dream: perfect before God.

Luke 11:1

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he finished, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.

Jennifer Van Allen