Courage in Convictions

Prodigal: It looks cold out there.

Me: Yes, it is but we still have the sun!

This is from the book Longing for More of Jesus: My Heart’s Cry by Anne Graham Lotz

Years ago, during the day of the powerful Roman Empire, there existed a special forces-type unit referred to as the Thundering Legion. This elite group of fighting men had greatly distinguished itself on the battlefield. It was led by a young commander, Camidus, who, in the course of his daily affairs, heard that God loved him and had sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die as a sacrifice for his sin, then had risen form the dead to give him eternal life. The young commander was so impacted that he was converted, placing his faith in Jesus Christ. He then shared his newfound faith with his regiment, and each of the thirty-nine soldiers under his command placed his faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

At the very time the regiment became more and more vocal about their faith in Jesus Christ, the Roman emperor became more and more insistent that he, the emperor, be recognized and worshiped as a god. In the end, and ugly confrontation took place when the regiment was commanded by the acting Roman governor to sacrifice to idols. The entire regiment refused. All forty professional fighting men were arrested by other soldiers and sent to a remote northern province. There they were called upon to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ once and for all. Again, each one refused.

As punishment for their faith, the forty soldiers were marched out onto the surface of a frozen lake, stripped of all their clothes, and loosely tied by a rope that encircled the neck of each and was strung form man to man. The men were then told they would be left on the lake until they froze to death.

However, if any man changed his mind, all he had to do was to slip the rope up and off his neck, walk to the shore, renounce his faith to the guard, and enter a steaming hot bath in order to recover from the exposure.

As the guard went back to his post to warm himself by his fire and to watch the forty nude men shivering in the freezing air, he heard them begin to chant: “Forty soldiers, we stand strong in the strength of Christ and Christ alone.” The chant continued until the darkness fell and the night descended, bringing with it plummeting temperatures. In the frozen bleakness, the chant became weaker, than faded altogether.

In the middle of the night, one of the freezing soldiers struggled to lift his arms, then unwrapped the rope from his neck and stumbled to the shore. In a barely audible voice, he told the guard he could not stand the cold any longer and renounced his faith in Jesus Christ. He then fell into the warmth of the steaming Roman bath.

As the guard returned to his post, he strained his ears to hear a sound coming from across the surface of the frozen lake: “Thirty-nine soldiers, we stand strong in the strength of Christ and Christ alone.” He held his breath to listen more carefully–then heard it again! This time the chant was repeated louder, with more strength. The guard was stunned! Who could provoke such conviction and commitment from such men? The guard knew it was Jesus! Slowly but surely, the guard walked across the surface of the lake to where the thirty-nine men were still standing. He quietly stripped of his clothes, stepped into the line of soldiers, wrapped the rope around his own neck, took the place of the soldier who had gone to shore, and shouted, “I am a Christian.” The chant rang out once more, only this time it was stronger and louder than it had been before: “Forty soldiers, we stand strong in the strength of Christ and Christ alone.” When the sun rose early the next morning, forty soldiers lay dead on the frozen surface of the lake.

Where does such strength come from? Where do you find courage and convictions like that to live for–and die for?

We love him, because he first loved us.

I JOHN 4 : 19

Jennifer Van Allen

Keeping My Hands Out of It

Me: Sometimes we need to be told loud and clear.

Prodigal: We often want to get our hands over everything and we really do not need too.

This is from the book Joy in Christ’s Presence by Charles Spurgeon

In this way I have deliberately given up many a trying situation into the Lord’s care. And when any of my friends have said to me, “What about so and so?” I have simply answered, “I do not know, and I no longer take the trouble to know. The Lord will interpose in some way or other, but I will trouble no more about it.”

No horrible turn of events has ever occurred in a matter that I have left in God’s care. Keeping my hands out of such things has been pure wisdom. “Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13) is God’s own precept. Let us follow Jesus in this.

The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

PSALM 93 : 4

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: That quilt is dandy!

Me: I am glad that after all the long hours the quilt is enjoyed.

This is a short video devotion on Proverbs

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 7:6

For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, (ESV).

Jennifer Van Allen

My Decision

Me: I think for my decision, I am choosing ice cream.

Prodigal: That is a good decision but I was thinking something else.

I have made my choice forever

I will walk the narrow way,

‘Till with Christ I dwell forever

In the realms of endless day.

Take the world with its pleasures

They can never satisfy,

Give me Jesus my precious Savior

He will all my needs supply.

by Helena Steiner

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the thing in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Jennifer Van Allen

Ideal Environment

Prodigal: I think that its a perfect place for the turtles to be.

Me: They have the perfect place to receive the son.

This is from the book Open Heart Open Home by Karen Burton Mains

The church should be the ideal environment to provide safe places for people to touch each other’s lives. Safe places are small groups with whom we can be who we really are in our brokenness and disability and receive assurance of acceptance and spiritual nurturance. We must have guarantees that confidentiality will be maintained; that what we say in the group will not be repeated outside. We must have massive applications of love and loving correction. We must find people who will be truthful without being harmful. When we find safety we are often able then to receive the strength we need to do the hard work of growth that we can only do ourselves.

Being a friend means that we do not repeat what is being told us in confidence. We show love, patience and acceptance. We then tell the truth in love and not in attack mode. We make sure that we look at ourselves and we are not contributing to the problem due to our own sin. This takes work and it is the first step is all about us and our own work.

Mark 10:29

And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: So many books….

Me: So little time….

This is a short video devotion.

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 7:5

That they may keep you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words. (NKJV)

Jennifer Van Allen

Honor to God

Prodigal: He ain’t done a nary thing in this game.

Me: Don’t push yourself up to far and put someone else down.

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

Some men who have not had humility have been sent adrift from the ministry, for the Lord will not use those who will not ascribe the honor entirely to Him. Humility is one of the chief qualifications for usefulness. Many have passed away from the roll of useful men because they have been lifted up with pride, and so have fallen into “the snare of the devil”(1 Timothy 3:7).

Now you know what you are dealing with. You know the heart, and you know where evil has deceived. Make decisions based on this knowledge from God today.

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Jennifer Van Allen

Breathe On Me Breath of God

Prodigal: God is all around us and He shows us His light.

Me: Amen to that.

Breathe On Me Breath of God

Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew,

That I may love what thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure,

Until my will is one with Thine to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly Thine,

Until this earthly part of me glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die,

But live with thee the perfect of Thine eternity.

-Edwin Hatch, 1878

John 6:47

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: I reckon today is going to be a hot one.

Me: Good to stay in the shade.

Prodigal: Let’s get started so that we can get a movin’.

This is a short video devotion on proverbs

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 7:4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding our nearest kin,

Jennifer Van Allen

God’s Vengeance

Prodigal: Sometimes it is upsetting with what some people do.

Me: I agree, but God will judge all.

This is from Miroslav Volf from Croatia

If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence–that God would not be worthy of worship….The only means of prohibiting all recourse to violence by ourselves is to insist that violence is legitimate only when it comes from God….My thesis that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many…in the West ……(But) it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human non-violence (results from the belief in) God’s refusal to judge. In a sun-scorched land soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariable die…..(with) other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.

You do not have to think about, or seek vengeance because vengeance is the Lord. Praise Him that He knows all and you can not deceive Him.

As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

Psalm 17:15

Jennifer Van Allen