Tag Archives: heart

Day Nineteen – The Elder Brother Must Not Look Back

Remember-Lots-Wife

Jesus tells us to “Remember Lot’s Wife” in Luke 17:32. I remember watching some movie where it shows her looking back longingly on Sodom, and then suddenly turning into a pillar of salt. It was horrifying to a young child. How could God do something like that?

The RaptureWhen Jesus mentions Lot’s wife, it is in context of looking for His return. So does this mean that when Jesus returns and shouts “Come up hither!” that those that look back or say “wait a minute, let me finish this project” or “let me go back and turn off the iron” will not be raptured?

Elder Brother Left BehindI think what it means is that the Rapture, or any Call of God, simply reveals what is in our heart. Millions of people who thought they were believers in Christ will reach over and find their spouse gone. Many deacons will be left behind. Even many pastors. Jesus began this discourse with His response to the Pharisees demand to know when the Kingdom of God would come. Jesus replied that the Kingdom is not something you look for, it is already here, within us.

Surely he did not mean it was within those self-righteous Pharisees. But ANYONE can have the Kingdom of God within their heart!And if you have the Kingdom of God in your heart, it won’t matter when Jesus comes back!

Jesus does tell us that even with the Kingdom in our heart, the days will grow so wicked that we will long to see Him return. There will be false messiah’s, but when the day of Jesus return is here, everyone will know it,  just as we know there is lightning all around us.

Lots WifeJesus tells us to remember Lot’s wife. She lived in wickedness, yet when the time came to leave, she obeyed, but looked back. She was turned into a pillar of salt. That is what Christians are supposed to be to an evil world, salt. So God left her. I doubt that she ended up in a container of Morton’s salt!

Pillar of SaltWhat does this have to do with Elder Brother’s? The Father was pleading with the Elder Brother to see what was really important, becoming alive from the dead (like the prodigal son), and come in to join the feast. The Father was saying, “hey, come enjoy the Kingdom of God, come enjoy fellowship with Me!“, but the Elder Brother was going “what about my field, what about the crops, what about his behavior, what about MY STUFF!”

Elder Brother Left Behind2So the story ends with the Elder Brother being left behind.

Elder Brother’s must stop looking around at the stuff and start looking to the Father. They must stop saying “what about” and start SEEING the Kingdom of God! They must start saying “what about YOUR HEART Father?The Kingdom is NOT in meat and drink and stuff, but it is in the Father, and in His righteousness, His peace, His joy.FaTHER INVITE eLDER BROTHER IN

He calls all Elder Brother’s to COME! Are you looking back like Lot’s wife? Does His CALL reveal the worldliness and selfishness of your heart? Are you so self-focused that you would hate to be interrupted by the RETURN OF JESUS? If so, I hope you like salt.SALT1

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Journey of an Elder Brother Day Seventeen

Father and Elder Brother ArgueThe Elder Brother angrily argued with his Father because he was lavishing a wasteful feast upon his wayward younger brother. The Father had never done such a thing for him, the obedient Elder Brother. His appeals to stop the feast went unheeded, because the Father was intent upon celebrating the finding of his lost son. Jesus ends the story with the two at odds with each other, and the Elder Brother refusing to join the celebration.

The Elder Brother was not in sync with his Father. He failed to know his heart, and so communication broke down, and a wall was erected.

Elder Brothers must understand their Father’s heart, for failure to do so will result in a breakdown in communications. Walls will be be erected. families will be divided.

abraham Friend of GodAbraham was a friend of his Father, Jehovah. Because of their friendship, the channels of communication were open. That is why God chose to reveal His plans for Sodom and Gommorah in Genesis 18. This led Abraham to reason, to barter with God. In a spirited exchange, Abraham appeals to Jehovah on the basis of His RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Would you slay the righteous with the wicked”, he appeals. Still basing it upon God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS, he lowers his appeal from 50 all the way to 10 righteous. Then he shut up. Jehovah went on his way. Why did Abraham stop at 10? Surely he knew that Lot was the only righteous one left! But Abraham also knew the Father’s HEART! Abraham knew that God would do the RIGHTEOUS thing!

God destroys Sodom_and_GomorrahThe Bible records what happens when God left Abraham; how Lot, his wife and two daughters were led to safety, but the wife looked back and was turned into salt. What about Abraham? Was he worried that Lot would be destroyed? Scripture reveals Abraham’s peace about the matter:

Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace. Genesis 19:27-28 (NLT)

Lot and Daughters sparedAbraham rose early that morning, knowing that the cities would be destroyed. He knew how wicked they were. But Abraham knew that Lot would be delivered. Why? Because Abraham knew the Father’s Heart! Scripture records that:

God destroyed the cities in the valley, but he remembered what Abraham had asked. So God saved Lot’s life, but he destroyed the city where Lot had lived. (Genesis 19:29)
As 2 Peter 2:7 states; God rescued RIGHTEOUS Lot!

Abraham had understood the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the Father. He appealed to God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS in sparing his nephew Lot. He knew that God would still act as RIGHTEOUS God. God remembered what Abraham had said.

This is what Elder Brothers must learn when communicating with the Father. We must seek to know Him, what He delights in, and our appeals to Him must be on the basis of His character.

heartThe Father revealed His heart to the Elder Brother, and the Elder Brother refused to understand. He walled himself from His Father’s heart, and never enjoyed the Feast with his younger brother.

Abraham knew his Father’s heart, and was able to enjoy a Feast with his nephew Lot.

Would you rather complain and sulk in loneliness, or rejoice and enjoy a feast with loved ones? Purpose to know the Father’s heart, and remind Him that you know Him by the way you appeal to Him!

Father: I purpose from this day forward to know Your Heart, to know what you delight in! I will always pray to you with your heart’s desire in mind!

Journey of an Elder Brother Day Twelve

Stuck Up Elder Brother

Sign Language for "Stuck Up"

Since I began this journey with the Prodigal God by Timothy Keller, my eyes have been opened to see the Elder Brother throughout the Bible. It is a whole new way of understanding the Gospel as well. The most amazing discovery has been the freedom that comes from admitting to God that we are an Elder Brother. There is no point in pretending. He knows our heart. He knows when we look down on others, when we think we are better than others. There is nothing wrong with being an Elder Brother. What is wrong is when we deny it, and say we are OK.

When you realize you are an Elder Brother, and are open and honest with God, and then ask Him to transform you into the True Elder Brother, the one who is not stingy or judgmental or selfish, WATCH OUT. He will start to work, and it will be painful.

Traduce a brotherOne way God will get you to let go of yourself is to let you see your self in a bad light. He will let you be TRADUCED! When you are traduced, you are “exposed to contempt or shame by means of false statements or misrepresentation.God will let you experience what it means to have someone look down at you, to judge you. Even if you have done nothing wrong, expect to be TRADUCED. It is God’s way of softening your heart to the needs of younger brothers. Elder Brothers have condemned and judged younger brothers far too long. God wants to see how you react to the wagging finger and upturned nose.

I experienced TRADUCING yesterday. Someone questioned my character by way of a misrepresentation. They had judged me yet did not have the guts to tell me to my face, or to tell me of their concerns. They had to have someone else do it. I had done nothing wrong, yet my blood started to boil, and I wanted to lash out. I especially despise cowards, people who talk about you behind your back yet will not talk to your face. As I was listening, blood boiling, the Father brought a verse to my heart, about Jesus not reviling when he was reviled, but committing himself to Him who judges righteously. (1 Peter 2:23 paraphrased). He reminded me that I had given my reputation to God several years ago, and that I must rest in Him. That is tough for an Elder Brother to do, especially when he is a Pastor. We tend to say “How Dare You!”

JesusbeatenYet Jesus is our True Elder Brother, and when He was TRADUCED, simply took it, and focused on His Father. He also prayed and forgave those who TRADUCED Him. So for the next few hours I prayed, forgave and asked the Father to enlarge my heart. The only way Elder Brothers will learn to be like Jesus is to learn to Love when we feel like hating or exacting revenge. I confessed I did not know how to love, but I knew the Father did.

Then I read what David Roper wrote in Our Daily Bread this morning:

“It was 40 years ago or more that I observed a friend of mine showing great affection for someone I considered unworthy of love. I thought my friend was being taken in, and I was afraid he would be disillusioned and saddened in the end. When I expressed my concern, he replied, “When I stand before my Lord, I hope He’ll say of me that I’ve loved too many, rather than too few.” I’ve never forgotten his words.”

The author continued expounding 1 Cor 13:7 “Love believes all things”“Love “believes” in people. It can see the potential in them. It believes that God can take the most unattractive and unworthy individual and turn that person into a masterpiece of beauty and grace. If love errs, it must err in the way of trustfulness and hopefulness.”

Love the UnlovelyThis is what Elder Brothers need to see. Instead of thinking we are the righteous ones, the ones whom the Father needs because we are so responsible, we need to see ourselves  along side the younger brother in the pigsty. We need to know what it is to be TRADUCED and looked down upon. Then we need to look at our Father and say, When our heart feels the Love of the Father even when we are at our worst, please let me never see another person as unattractive or unworthy or filthy or useless. Let me see them as YOUR MASTERPIECE! Then our heart is enlarged to LOVE THE UNLOVELY! May we ever look to the Father and pray that He will some day accuse us of loving too many, rather than too few!

Have no HeartElder brothers need to be TRADUCED so that we understand the pain and hurt of our younger brothers. When our hearts are aching then we will be sensitive to the pain of the younger brother’s heart. We will reach out to our Father for help, and only then will we be able to reach out to our younger brother. Sure, they may continue to break our heart, but as David Roper said: “It’s better to believe in someone and have your heart broken than to have no heart at all.

Lord, help us to believe in people
And all that in them You can do,
So we can say we’ve loved too many,
Rather than too few. —Sper

The Father looks beyond what the brothers are to what they can become.

Father: Soften and enlarge my heart to love my younger brothers the way my True Elder Brother loves me. Empower me to love the unlovely. May I never look down on anyone. May I see others as You see them!

Learn to Look Past the Dragons

appleofeyeAll this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way; Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death. (Psa 44:17-19)

How did David stay the “apple of God’s eye?” He proved through trials that his own eye was always focused upon God. David and his men and their families endured hardship and trial after trial. Not for days or months, but for years. David proclaims that they had been broken in the place of dragons. We are not clear what kind of monster David was referring to, but the idea was that it was something that at beast had broken them, and at worse could kill them.

Some of us have endured trials so severe that death would have seemed a sweet relief. I’m sure the thought had crossed David’s mind during his years of running from the armies of Saul. But David says an amazing thing in Psalms 44. Even with all this coming upon them, they never blamed God, they never despised the circumstance they were in. David testifies that:

  1. They did not forget God.
  2. They did not deal falsely (treat with disregard) with God’s Covenant.
  3. Their heart never turned away from God
  4. Their feet did not stray from following God’s path.

Everything they went through they saw as coming from God, and under God’s control. God was breaking them, and they acknowledged His hand behind the process. Sure they saw the dragons all around them, but they saw God’s hand controlling the reins. dragongif

Jesus encouraged us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luk 10:27). David learned to do that while in the midst of dragons. He loved God with his heart (not turned back), his soul (not dealt falsely), his strength (steps not declined) and his mind (they had not forgotten Him).

Have you faced dragons, faced brokenheartedness, faced the shadow of death? Look past all of that and see Jehovah, our Covenant keeping God. Do not allow circumstances to influence your love for God. Vow within your heart to Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, even if a dragon happens to be breathing down your neck. David did, and he reigned as King. Jesus reigns, and we are seated with Him. He has slayed the dragons, so learn to praise God for brokenness, and allow your love for Him to grow. Look past the dragons into His loving eyes. He reigns. He is King. We live to serve Him.

Prayer: Lord, allow me to trust you to accomplish your brokenness in my life. Make me the servant you can use to accomplish Your will. Teach me to keep my heart and eyes focused on you and to look past the dragons of my life.