Tag Archives: Prodigal

Sure are a Lot of Sinners in Here

The Elder Brother has accepted the Father’s invitation and gone in to the party celebrating his younger brother’s return. This is my imagining:

IMMEDIATELY I notice this is a REALLY FESTIVE party. You can not imagine the feast that our Father has prepared. Really HUGE! My younger brother is the center of attention. He looks totally transformed by what my Father has done for him. I’ve got to rush over to him and let him know that I love him. But just as Esau rushed to fearful Jacob, my brother notices me and runs to me! All those years I looked down at him, and now he is running to me! He used to run away from my disdainful stares.

What a reunion. It was like we were small boys again! We both were sobbing, hugging, kissing. The merriment stopped as all eyes were upon us. Everyone knew that we did not get along. They probably were in awe of the scene. We stood there, embracing and the tears began flowing freely from our eyes. Then our Father joined in, and it seemed the dam broke. Such a reunion, all because of our Father’s love.

I wonder how long we will feast and hug and cry and kiss when we get to heaven. If this is any indication, what a truly amazing place it must be. I can’t believe I almost let my foolish pride keep me from accepting my Father’s invitation. I take a moment to look at the faces around us. Many of these people I would never have given the time of day. I certainly would not have invited them into MY HOUSE! But now I am hugging them, shaking their hands, REJOICING with them! Some of these folk are barely presentable, clothed in rags, dirty, stinky, but it doesn’t matter, we are CELEBRATING because of our Father’s Love and Provisions! 

This Elder Brother thinks we will be amazed at the people we see at the Father’s Feast in Heaven. We will probably be even more amazed at who we do not see. One thing has been brought home to my heart: Jesus is a friend of sinners. Only sinners can realize how much He did for them. Elder Brother Types can let their pride and self-righteousness blind their heart to the Love of Jesus and prevent them from the “Sinners Relationship” with the Father!

Jesus Friend of SinnersYes, Jesus and the Father are FRIENDS of SINNERS! The Self Righteous, those who are working for heaven are not welcome. As an Elder Brother Type I have often let my pride and self righteousness get in the way of this amazing relationship with God. Sinners who hold on to their sins miss out too. That is why Elder Brother Types must see Jesus Christ as a Friend of Sinners and start letting it impact the way we relate to people.

Watchman Nee wrote that when he saw Jesus as a Friend of Sinners he started to see some unusual and even difficult people come to Jesus.

Pray with NeeOnce a young woman came up to him and started hitting him, saying she did not want to be “saved” by this Jesus. She was young and wanted to have a good time, and had no desire to leave her sinful ways. After she had exhausted her rantings, he said “Let’s pray”. “What on earth could I possibly pray?” she replied. Watchman Nee said: “I can’t be responsible for your prayer, but I will pray first, and then you tell the Lord Jesus all that you have been saying to me.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that!” she exclaimed. 

“Yes, you can. Don’t you know Jesus is the Friend of Sinners?”

She was touched and indeed did pray – a very non-typical prayer – but from that hour the Lord began to work in her heart.

Within a few days Nee says she was gloriously saved.

Two Brothers reunitedI’m with my younger brother now, and I’m on the look out for some more Friends for Jesus. Anyone want to Pray? Your language will not offend him. Your clothes will not offend him. Your behavior will not offend Him. He wants you to know that He is Your Friend. He wants to talk with you. He wants to feast with you!

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Journey of an Elder Brother Day Fourteen

cainThe first Elder Brother mentioned in the Bible was Cain. Cain provides a picture of typical  Elder Brothers. They tend to be hands on. They are not dreamers watching the flock, but have to get their hands dirty at whatever they are doing. They just have to stay busy. Elder Brothers are stubborn. They think their way is best and do not take criticism well. Elder brothers are proud of their accomplishments. They resent it when someone questions what they have done, or implies that it isn’t very good (they REALLY resent back seat drivers). Elder Brothers are not very generous. They tend to count pennies. Elder Brothers also allow their passions to get the best of them, and often get angry. Sure, they usually justify and even deny their anger, but they get angry nonetheless.

Cain Kills AbleSuch was Cain, a hard worker, stubborn, proud, stingy and given to anger. He didn’t see himself that way, until God confronted him. Then he saw himself as the sinful man that he was. How did God deal with him? He struck him where it would hurt the most:

No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.” Genesis 4:12

He struck him at his pride of accomplishment, that which the Elder Brother values above everything else. Elder Brothers love to be seen as accomplished, successful, worth something. Cain would no longer have good crops, he would no longer have easy success, he would no longer have a nice home to invite people to. He would forever be a wanderer.

Cain protested that this was too much to bear, that people would try to kill him. So God put a mark on Cain, to serve as a warning of judgment to anyone who killed him.

Cain - Unicorn ManHave you ever wondered what that mark was? I have. The Jewish Rabbi’s have some wild theories about the mark. The one I like best is from Rabbi Joseph who says it was a long horn growing out of his head! Picture Hellboy with only one horn.

As an Elder Brother who has experienced the DISCIPLINING Hand of God, I think I know. Whatever this mark looked like, it showed Cain’s BROKENNESS. Elder Brothers can only experience a relationship with the Father if they have been truly broken. How do I know Cain was broken? He named his first born son Enoch or Chanoch which signifies “instructed, dedicated, or initiated, especially in sacred things.” It may be considered some proof of Cain’s repentance, that he appears to have dedicated this son to God (Adam Clarke)

Cain could no longer have anything he might boast in, that his hands had made or grown. But he did have a son. Instead of boasting in his son, Broken Cain dedicated him to God. This is what brokenness will produce, and what Elder Brothers must experience if they are to know the Father’s heart. They must realize that nothing they have or have done is worth anything unless they give it to God! The Father is the source of ALL BLESSINGS, and a broken Elder Brother will know that, and give thanks!

Father: Reveal those things in my life that I am proud of, and that I am holding onto as MY accomplishment. Allow me to let go, and give them to you. May I share in the brokennes of your Son, my True Elder Brother.


Journey of an Elder Brother Day Thirteen

Younger Brother returnsWhat was the difference between the younger and the elder brother that meant that one could enjoy the feast and the other could not? The Prodigal or younger son feasted with the Father, while the Elder Brother did not go in, even though the Father begged him.

Why is it that some Christians experience the power and presence of God and some do do not? Why do some of God’s children live victorious lives while others are in a state of constant defeat? The difference is not explained by the presence or absence of the Father. He is present with every child of His.

banquet The-Invitation-PostersGod is Father to both sons, yet only one enjoyed the feast. Why? The younger son had come to a place of deep reverence for his Father, while the Elder Brother had not. The prodigal son recognized the Divine ownership of his life, while the Elder Brother was still his own master.

Peter wrote “Sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15) Elder Brothers will never feast with the Father until they realize He is Lord of every aspect of their life. Elder Brothers must let go of everything, and realize it is all the Father’s. He is Lord!

The Prodigal returned with nothing. Even his reputation and standing were gone. He had become as nothing. He had no where to go but to the Father’s arms. Instead of scorn, his Father kissed him and opened his storehouse of grace to him. Can you feel the great reverence and humility that must have overwhelmed the prodigal’s heart? Such a Father! Such a Relationship! His Father became the Lord of his life!

Younger and Elder BrothersThe Elder Brother clung tighter to his world, and refused to reverence the Father’s wishes. He gained his world, but lost the Father’s Heart!

Elder Brother, how is your relationship with the Father? Do you feast with Him every day? Or is your relationship cold, lifeless, sterile? Open your arms to Him as your Lord. Realize you are nothing without Him.

Father: I want your Life! Teach me that I am nothing without you. Nothing in the world matters except my relationship with YOU!

Journey of an Elder Brother Day Nine

uzzah touiches arkElder Brothers are usually more responsible, more careful, and more critical when it comes to their jobs or tasks. I always wanted Elder Brother types to be managers or team leaders when I was in the business world. They usually took a personal ownership attitude toward their responsibilities. However, Elder Brother types usually don’t work well in church situations.  They tend to want to give God too much of a hand, and rely more on their own strength and not upon the Lord.

Classic example occurred when David was moving the Ark of the Covenant from the home of Abinadab to its rightful place. The two brothers Uzzah and Ahio were responsible for the move, driving the ox cart. Normally Uzzah, being the elder, would have driven, but he wanted to keep a close eye on the Ark, as he considered it his job to make sure it arrived in good order. So he let his younger brother drive. I’m sure Uzzah told him to keep away from the threshing floor of Nacon, but you know how those younger brothers are. He probably got lost in all the attention and failed to notice the oxen heading for the grain. I’m sure Uzzah had some harsh words for Ahio as the oxen left the road and rushed toward the grain of the threshing floor. The ground was getting more uneven, the oxen were getting faster, the Ark was rocking with the cart. Uzzah knew for sure that unless he steadied the Ark, it would continue to wobble until it fell off the cart. He couldn’t let that happen! What would God do if His Ark fell off the cart and broke? The Ark needed the steadying arm of Uzzah, so he did what any Elder Brother would do – he gave God a hand.

Uzzah Did Not Heed the LordYou know what happened. God didn’t want Uzzah’s help. In fact, God struck Uzzah dead on the spot.

Elder Brothers do not understand this story. Even David got mad at God. How could God do such a thing? All Uzzah was trying to do was help! Don’t you want us to take our jobs seriously, to always do our best?

God wants us to do whatever we do with all our hearts. But God wants things done His way and not our way. Paul put it this way when describing how slaves should work for their masters:

Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Ephesians 6:6-7

As an Elder Brother, Uzzah thought he was doing right. He was taking ownership of the Ark. He was doing his best to take care of it. But he was so wrong. God had prescribed precisely how the Ark was to be transported and touched. He expected His will to be followed to the letter. He did not need anyone revising His rules. He did not need a hand in transporting the Ark. He simply needed willing hands combined with willing hearts that were obedient to His Word.

Ive got this under control

I've Got this Under Control!

Elder Brothers must guard against the attitude that “I know how to do this.” “I don’t need anyone telling me what to do.” “I’ve got this under control.” Getting to know the Father’s heart requires obedience, but not unless it is from a humble heart. You may be a skilled, talented Elder Brother Manager in the business world. Your bosses may love what you are doing. But that doesn’t work in God’s House. In God’s House those that walk after His Spirit are to be in charge. Those that walk after their flesh are not welcome.

Uzzah did what was right under normal conditions. Elder Brothers will normally do what is right. There is a way which seems right to man, but the end thereof is death.

God does not want us to be right. Anyone can do what is right. God wants our hearts to be dependent upon Him, and to obey Him! That means Elder Brothers must humble themselves before the Father, and set aside what they think is right. They must depend upon the Father for their very life! The younger brother learned this lesson and was saved. But Elder Brothers have a hard time with humility and depending upon someone else.

Father: Open my eyes to see You, and to see how wrong I am. Take my heart and teach me to depend totally upon You! May Your Word be the only light for my path.