May Each of Us

Me: Your lookin’ good!

Prodigal: With those words, might get stuck on m’self.

Me: Let’s share about God then.

This is from the book Imaginations: More Than You Think by James P. Gills, M.D.

May each of us be lovers of God! May the Spirit quicken us, so that we have hope and belief in all the promises of God, and may His Word become real within our lives. Let us cry out and seek an intimate relationship with Him, so that He is with us, He is in us, and He is seen through us!

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

2 Peter 1:2

Jennifer Van Allen


Prodigal: I have been busy with the cotton.

Me: I will share with you while you work.

This is from the book Finding Peace for Your Heart by Stormie Omartian

Twenty Reasons to Fast

To purify and cleanse the spirit, soul, and body.

To receive divine guidance and revelation.

To seek God’s face and have a closer walk with Him.

To hear God better and to understand His will more fully.

To invite God’s power to flow through you more mightily.

To establish a position of spiritual strength and dominion.

To break any bondage that is on you.

To receive clarity of mind.

To be free of evil or debilitating thoughts.

To break through depression.

To weaken the power of the devil in your life.

To stabilize you when life seems out of control.

To be strengthened in your body and soul.

To break the lusting of the flesh after anything.

To discover gifts God has placed in you.

To be released from heavy burdens.

To establish a clean heart and right spirit within you.

To be set free from negative emotions.

To find healing.

To gain strength for what you don’t have the ability to do.

Psalms 30:2

O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: The Lord is Good!

Me: Amen!

This is a short video devotion from Proverbs

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 12:24

The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor. (NKJV)

Jennifer Van Allen

Pennies From Heaven

Me: How is the gardening coming along?

Prodigal: There is more than one way to pluck a blizzard.

Me: That is true.

I was at the bus stop, heading home after a long, busy night waiting tables at a steak house, when I realized I’d left behind my money pouch, with seventy dollars of tips in it. I couldn’t afford to lose a night’s pay.

I ran back into the restaurant. There was no sign of my money. Just imagine you had the night off, I told myself. I’d forget about it.

The next night was even busier than the one before. I was already waiting on five tables at once, when an elderly couple, both with snow-white hair, sat down in my section. No matter how harried I was, I made sure to give them the best service I could. After their meal, I brought their check, thanked them for their patience and rushed off to greet my next customers.

The couple had left the table by the time I picked up their check. This isn’t right, I thought, counting the money they’d left for me. There was much more here than their fifty-five dollar check. Way too much for a tip. I counted it out. One hundred and twenty-five dollars!

Quickly, I turned around to look for the couple. They’d left the restaurant. I ran to the front door, but they weren’t outside. Finally, I went to the hostess. “Did you see that elderly couple you sat in my section leave?”

“What elderly couple?” the hostess said. “You were so busy, we didn’t seat anyone in your section, until just now.”

by Beaver Brown

Psalm 73:28

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

Jennifer Van Allen

A Giant Beside Our House

Prodigal: This is a big tree!

Me: Very big, and I have a big story to go with it.

This is from Ron Gullion

I’m in our yard on Big Fir Court, gazing up at the mighty two-hundred-fifty foot tree the street is named for. Rising from the corner of our property to the height of a twenty-story building, the great white dwarfs our home and everything in sight like some ancient giant. It gives the illusion of leaning ominously toward me, creaking and swaying ever so slightly in the rustling wind.

Look! It’s not leaning, it’s falling! It’s toppling toward our house, gaining momentum, rushing to meet its shadow, until finally it crumples the roof and splinters through the living room and front bedroom with a sickening, thunderous roar. I let out a cry. Alison’s room!

I awoke in a drenching sweat and sat straight up trying to blink away the terrifying vision. Another nightmare. I slipped out of bed and stole a peek into Alison’s room. Our nine-year-old daughter was sleeping peacefully, as was eleven-year-old Heath across the hall. But I couldn’t shake the irrational fear until I’d checked. This was not the first time I’d dreamed of such an accident. In another dream I’d seen a giant tree limb tearing loose and slamming down on Heath, leaving him crippled.

As a computer engineer, I deal with quantifiable information. I don’t pay much attention to impractical things like dreams. But these nightmares were so vivid and frightening. I eased back into bed next to my wife, Nita, but no before looking out the window at the tree. There it stood, stately and still, its coarse bark ghostly pale in the faint moonlight.

A few nights later I had another dream, this one more puzzling than alarming:

I am in our yard and in front of me stands a white angel. The angel has a broken wing.

What did all these dreams mean?

Then one day I noticed a twenty-foot dead limb dangling from the fir. Out here in the Northwest we call a dangerous limb like that a widow maker. I remembered the dream about Heath. “Don’t go near that tree,” I warned him. That Saturday I enlisted a neighbor to help me rope it down; all week I’d worried about the precarious branch. Later I had some other dead limbs removed too.

Why am I so concerned about this tree? I wondered. It’s stood here for generations. It even survived the fierce Columbus Day storm of ’62.

My nightmares about the tree eventually subsided. Christmas season arrived and Nita and I rushed madly to get our shopping done. More than anything, Alison wanted a Cabbage Patch doll. We scoured the stores around Portland with no luck. Everywhere we went it was the same story. “Sorry, folks,” said the clerk inevitably. “We sold out our Cabbage Patch dolls weeks ago.”

Finally Nita settled on a handmade rag doll. It was thicker and heavier than the Cabbage Patch version, but there was something about it that caught our fancy. “Well,” sighed Nita as we a paid for it, “this will have to do.”

“Alison will love it,” I reassured her.

We arrived home to a surprise. Alison had impetuously decided to rearrange her room. She’d been talking about it for days, but Nita had implored her to wait until the holiday excitement died down. “Then I’ll help you,” she’d promised.

Instead Alison had recruited her brother for the task, getting Heath to help drag her heavy bed across the room. “I just wanted to get it done now, Mommy,” she explained as Nita surveyed the scene with obvious displeasure. “It’s important.” Alison’s toys and furniture spilled out into the hall. By bedtime, however, Alison had her room in order again and we could scarcely hide our admiration.

“See?” said Alison knowingly. “It’s not such a big deal.”

Outside I head the wind whistle through the big fir.

A howling blizzard marked Christmas Eve. I drove home from work through swirling snow and pounding winds. I pulled into the driveway, turned up my collar, and hurried inside to get ready for church. Church was not one of my priorities even under the best circumstances, and on a night like this I didn’t want to be anywhere but inside my house, Christmas Eve or not. But I’d promised.

At the service with Nita and the kids, I felt strangely detached as I hunched in the pew with my arms folded tightly, thinking about whether I even believed that God was a part of my life. I’d been raised in church but that was a long time ago.

Now I certainly didn’t feel any “tidings of comfort and joy.” God may have created the world and all its wonders, but I didn’t see where that had much to do with my life. If God was real, He was much too remote for me to have faith in.

We arrived home later, and the wind and snow stung our faces as we walked up the driveway. Heath and Alison rushed inside to turn on the Christmas tree lights. From our bay window the blue lights cast a peaceful glow across the snowy yard. I draped my arm around Nita and led her in.

Wrapping paper flew as the children tore into their presents, and Nita and I settled back on the couch to view the happy chaos. Nita had turned the tree into a work of art. The crowning touch was a glorious blond angel perched high at the top. “It looks like Alison,” I said.

Alison was so delighted with her big new doll that she granted it the honor of accompanying her to bed. “Told you she’d love it,” I reminded Nita as we climbed under the covers. The moaning wind lulled us to sleep.

Roar! The explosive sound jolted the house. I hadn’t been asleep long, and my startled, half-awake mind tried to separate fantasy from reality. The dream again, I thought. But then I sat bolt upright and suddenly I knew. This was no dream. This time my nightmare was real. The tree really had fallen on our house!

I leapt out of bed and raced across the hall to Alison’s room. “Daddy, help!” she was calling frantically. “I’m stuck!”

I couldn’t budge the door. It was jammed shut. “Oh, my God,” I whispered. “Don’t move, honey!” I shouted through the door. “We’ll get you out.” I grabbed a flashlight and told Nita to call 911. “I’ll see if I can get to her from outside.”

I was horrified to find the tree filling the front hall, branches whipping in the gale. I stumbled through the family room to a side door. Outside I nearly collide with the massive trunk. Propped up on its giant ball of roots, which had been torn from the earth, it looked prehistoric. I crawled underneath as the rough bark tore at my robe and ripped my flesh. The wind sliced through me. Above the din I heard the distant wail of sirens.

Groping my way to Alison’s window I aimed the flashlight beam inside and wiped the icy snow from my eyes. All I could see were branches, tattered insulation, and hunks of ceiling strewn about the trunk. Somewhere buried beneath the tree was my daughter, crying faintly, “Daddy! Daddy!”

Someone was standing beside me. “Alison! This is Captain McCullough of the fire department,” he called. “Your daddy’s with me. Can you move at all?”

“I think I can move my arm, came a brave little voice.

“Good. Push you hand up as high as you can.”

Tiny fingers wriggled up through the debris. I breathed a tentative sigh of relief. Firemen rushed to set up lights and heat lamps. They fastened a plastic tarp over the rescue area. Captain McCullough turned to me and said quietly, “This isn’t going to be easy, Mr. Gullion.”

As I huddled with Nita, and neighbors looked after Heath, a terrifying game of pick-up sticks slowly unfolded. The night air was filled with the roar of chain saws and the reek of fir pitch as rescuers cut away at the tree and cautiously removed branches as they went . A slight shift of any debris could spell disaster.

Bit by bit they chipped away at the wreckage until, after an hour, Alison’s head and shoulders emerged. Her right leg appeared to be crushed under the tree. A fallen two-by-six rafter clamped down on her torso. We could se Alison’s new doll squeezed between her chest and the rafter. Apparently she’d fallen asleep clutching it.

McCullough shook his head grimly and called a halt to the work. “We can’t risk it,” he said. “Show me the crawl space.” Moments later he played his flashlight on the area under Alison’s room. Limbs a half foot in diameter pierced the floor and stabbed the ground beneath. Again McCullough shook his head. “We can’t cut away the floor without disturbing the tree. And that tree must not shift.”

The subzero wind had intensified. Hours had passed and now there was the threat of Alison succumbing to hypothermia. Neighbors rushed in warm blankets and hot-water bottles. A paramedic put his wool ski cap on Alison’s head. But I could see she was drifting, her big eyes fluttering. Once or twice her head rolled back. If we didn’t get her leg out soon, the surgeons might have to amputate it to free her.

Only one chance was left: to lift the tree. A crane was out of the question. In this wind it would be too unstable. But McCullough had called a towing company that used giant air bags to gently right overturned semitrailers. “It’s a gamble,” he warned me. “But we’ve run out of options.”

Huge rubber bags were packed under the tree. A compressor roared to life. Slowly the bags filled with air and swelled against the giant fir. Despite the blizzard, I could see sweat bead up on McCullough’s tensed brow. My hands trembled as Nita buried her head in my chest, afraid to look.

Suddenly I heard myself praying to God whose very existence, just hours earlier, I’d doubted. You would have thought I’d be ashamed to ask His help now, but something told me I must. “Please, Lord,” I begged, “spare her life. I believe You are there.”

The shriek of the compressor was deafening. The bags bulged like great billows, but at first nothing gave.

Then there was movement! Inch by agonizing inch, the tree was lifted. A cry rose from the crowd as paramedics rushed to free Alison and whisk her to a waiting ambulance. Nita and I jumped in with her, and we roared off. Alison smiled weakly. “I’ll be okay now, Daddy,” she whispered, still grasping her new doll.

That overstuffed doll, it turned out, was possibly just enough of a cushion between the fallen two-by-six rafter and Alison’s chest to have saved her life.

The doctors confirmed that she would recover. And Alison’s leg was only broken, not crushed.

Christmas Day, Heath and I kicked through the rubble of our house. I’d been thinking about that desperate prayer I’d said, thinking about it a lot. In Alison’s room I saw that the bulk of the fir had landed near the southeast wall-right where her bed had been before she’d impulsively moved it. On the trunk directly over where Alison lay when the tree came crashing through, I noticed a wide scar from a recently cut branch–one of those I’d felt such urgency to remove after my dreams. That branch might have killed her.

Had God been trying to warn me all along about the tree? To protect us? Had I been blind to God’s ways?

In the snow outside what used to be our living room I found the angel from our Christmas tree, the one that looked like Alison. Its wing was broken, just as the wing in my dream had been. As I brushed it off and held it up, Heath came running. “Dad, Dad!” He grabbed the angel. “I’ve seen this before! In a dream! An angel with a broken wing just like this one!”

Dreams. Does God speak to us through them? The Bible says He does (Job 33:14-18), as well as in many other ways. This much I myself can say: Alison is safe and well. And God is, and always has been, watching over my family.

Job 33:15-16 (KJV)

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumbering upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: Getting some exercise in.

Me: Nice time to do that.

This is as short video devotion on Proverbs.

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 12:23

A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness. (NKJV)

Jennifer Van Allen

Sudden Increase

Me: Friends are welcome all the time! Thanks for joining us.

Prodigal: Sharing is a way to show you care.

I had only two one-dollar bills in my wallet and they had to last until payday, ten days away. My husband was away on business, and I was at home with our two children conserving every cent.

On Monday my father called to say he needed to attend a union meeting on Friday afternoon. Would I come and stay with Mother? She was bedridden with brain cancer and had to have someone help her with her medicine. I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Back then, in 1970, one dollar would buy enough gas to get there and back, and I would still have an “emergency” dollar left.

All week long my five-year-old kept asking for a treat from the ice cream truck. And each time, I would open my wallet, show her the two one-dollar bills, and explain why we couldn’t afford such a luxury.

When we arrived on Friday, Daddy’s parting words were, “Don’t forget to give Mom her Dilantin,” her anticonvulsant medicine. But after he’d gone I discovered the bottle was empty. I was terrified that if Mother didn’t get her medicine on time, she ‘d go into convulsions.

Mother told me to check her purse and a couple of other places for loose change, but that was all I found–loose change. I telephoned my sisters, but no on was home. The prescription cost over eight dollars. Where would I get that money?

“God will take care of it,” Mother said.

At my wit’s end, I decided to go to the pharmacist’s with my lone dollar and beg him to trust me for the rest. But when I looked in my wallet again, I was stunned.

That single was a ten-dollar bill.

by Esther McIntosh

Psalm 103:2

Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits–

Jennifer Van Allen

A Deeper Meaning

Me: Let’s sit a spell.

Prodigal: Yes, I can get some things off my chest.

Me: Yes, we can.

This is from the book The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer often asked himself about the deeper meaning of his life, which seemed to him so disconnected and confused. A few months before his death, when coming events cast their shadows before, he wrote in prison: “It all depends on whether or not the fragment of our life reveals the plan and material of the whole. There are fragments of our life reveals the plan and material of the whole. There are fragments which are only good to be thrown away, and others which are important for centuries to come because their fulfilment can only be a divine work. They are fragments of necessity. If our life, however remotely, reflects such a fragment….we shall not have to bewail our fragmentary life, but, on the contrary, rejoice in it.”

Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purse; no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, or staff: for the labourer is worthy of his food. Matthew 10:9-10

Jennifer Van Allen

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Prodigal: It’s been a blasted nuisance.

Me: That’s ok, the Lord is here.

This is a short video devotion on Proverbs

click here to watch the video

Proverbs 12:22

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD; but they that deal truly are his delight. (KJV)

Jennifer Van Allen

When We Praise

Prodigal: These are wonderful!

Me: Thank ya!

This is from the book Something More: In Search of A Deeper Faith by Catherine Marshall

When we praise, we are letting self go by turning our backs (through and act of will) on the problem or grief where self as been most involved.

We stop fighting the evil or less-than-good circumstances.

With that, resentment goes;

Self pity goes.

Perspective comes.

We have turned our back on the problem and are looking steadily at God.

We are acting out our belief in the character of God–His goodness, His love.

We are acting out our belief in the present power of God-in His participating Presence.

Isaiah 26:1

In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

Jennifer Van Allen