Posts Tagged ‘Forgive’

jesus feed the disciplesThe Elder Brother is listening to his father beg him to join the feast. Suddenly he gets it! In a true story we see a group of Elder Brothers led by Peter go on in, in spite of their miserable failures. They go to shore and feast with the Father’s Son, Jesus Christ. What happened? What truth has to get hold of Elder Brothers to cause them to DIVE ON IN like Peter? Hint: Enough introspection, its time to DIVE IN!

Jesus didn’t want His disciples to spend too much time regretting or feeling sorry for their sins. In one touching moment the Lord Jesus let his disciples know that He is not about the Past but about the Future! Jesus wanted them to know He is Lord of the Future, and wanted them to focus on that. He knew they had gone back to their fishing because they were upset and disillusioned about His death. Even though Jesus had been upfront with them, they had responded like selfish Elder Brothers and gone back to what they knew best – fishing. But even that proved empty and fruitless.

The-Disciples-Big-CatchSo Jesus spoke, and their nets were filled. They came ashore, and Jesus prepared a feast for them. Then He focused on the biggest failure of an Elder Brother – Peter. But His words were to all Elder Brothers. He said, “Do you love me more than these?” Peter knew in that instance that his return to fishing meant he was putting it before his Lord. But rather than admit it in front of the others, he saidYes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said, “then feed my lambs”

jesus-peter-lovest-thou-me (2)

Now there was an obvious disconnect going on here. Jesus wanted to know if Peter “agape” loved him, and Peter insisted he “phileo” loved Jesus. The third time Jesus used “phileo” to meet Peter where he was at, and he pressed the point, “well, then, FOCUS ON THE FUTURE and feed my sheep!”

The Father knows where all Elder Brothers are at, and He still wants us to come in! He’s not about where we have been, He is all about where we are GOING! He’s about the REJOICING!

If Elder Brothers are going to go in, they can’t dwell on the past mistakes, they must focus on a growing love for the Father and taking care of HIS SHEEP! It is not about the fish, its about the sheep!

jesus to peter Focus on the futureSo as an Elder Brother, I’m diving in and going in to the feast because I realize I love my Father, and He wants me to feed His sheep, those younger brothers (and older) that know His voice! I realize it is not about what I want, but what the Father NEEDS, and that is sons who will care for His sheep! And the only reason I am emboldened to dive in is because the Father is ALL ABOUT THE FUTURE, NOT THE PAST!

Do Elder Brothers need to dwell on their mistakes, mourn over all the younger brothers they have offended, grieve over all the hurts they have caused the Father?

No! What the Father wants is for us to turn away from our self and GO IN and REJOICE!

Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT): “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow.”

REJOICE I AM FORGIVENI’m going in, and I am NOT going to sulk in the corner brooding over my failures and sin. The Father wants me to REJOICE. The Father wants ME! He desires a RELATIONSHIP with ME! I’m turning away from my self effort and selfishness, my pride and arrogance, my independence, and I’m going to fall at my Father’s feet and let Him kiss my neck! I’m going in and kiss my younger brother’s neck! I’m diving in to my Father’s AMAZING POWER, GRACE AND LOVE!

Jesus wants to be Lord of our PAST, but He can do it ONLY if we allow HIM to be LORD of our FUTURE!

The only sorrow any brother should have is that which leads us away from our mistakes and plants us FIRMLY IN THE ARMS OF OUR SAVIOR! This life is all about who has our heart!

Lovest thou ME? Then forget those things which are past and press toward the Father’s Heart!

Come on, it’s time to DIVE in (watch the video on YouTube):

There is a supernatural power In this might river’s flow
It can bring the dead to life
And it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing
Worth living and worth dying for, yeah
But we will never know the awesome power
Of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves get swept away
Into this holy flood
So if you’ll take my hand
We’ll close our eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let’s go

Elder Brother Dives InI’m diving in, I’m going deep in over
my head, I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow,
in over my head, I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide,
the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in

Father: I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes as an Elder Brother, and I now know you have forgiven me, and love me. But I’m taking your hand and I’m going in, heart first, sink or swim, I’m diving in!


The-Prodigal-God We are starting “The Prodigal God” series at church tomorrow. I still remember hearing a preacher from Great Britain proclaim “God’s Chief Delight is to Give” as he spoke from this parable in chapel at Baptist Bible College. I have had to remind myself of that constantly in life, especially when things were looking hopeless. Timothy Keller does a fantastic job of laying the groundwork for our study, so much so that I am going to let him tell it tomorrow by letting him preach the first sermon. He opens up this parable in a way that I had not seen before, particularly in regards to the relationship between the elder brother and the brother who went away.

Jim and John to SchoolAs I watched and listened I was struck in my heart because I am the elder brother. I was the first born, I was the responsible one, I was the one who never got in trouble. My younger brother John, meanwhile, was always the one in trouble, always the one who seemed to have more fun because he was always pushing the limits. Smugly I laughed to myself when he got in trouble, yet inwardly I was jealous of his superior looks, athletic ability and success with the girls. John was the one who brought my dad the greatest joy and greatest heartache. John excelled in sports while I was merely a debater. My parents always went to watch John but never went to watch me debate. Dad and John fought to the point of blows, yet a mere word was spoken and I obeyed. Still, it seemed that John got all the attention.

John and Jim off to collegeJohn tried to do right at times. He even followed me to Bible College my third year. He only succeeded with the girls, and not with the grades. He was kicked out and celebrated by TEE-PEEing the entire campus. What a sight! He was always the one to break the rules and have the most fun. I got married and went to work for dad, and started having a family. John moved away to Arizona.

While I continued to be the dutiful elder brother, John made a mess of his life. He married and divorced five times (to only two different women). He got more and more into the drugs he had started experimenting with in high school. Marijuana led to cocaine which led to Meth and who know what else. John did it all. He got to where he couldn’t keep a job. He called constantly for money. His two boys would have nothing to do with him. Mom and Dad didn’t know what to do. They had spent thousands of dollars on rehab and psychiatric care, but nothing ever worked. They went to their grave with hearts heavy with grief over John.

Handsome John TompkinsJohn was the consummate con-man, fooling everyone but himself. I found him on the streets of Phoenix in 2004. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could this be the brother I had always admired? He still amazes me, because he is surviving in a way I never could. But he doesn’t have to live this way. I got him a car so he could at least lock his possessions up (there is a lot of theft among the homeless). It lasted about 3 1/2 years. My brother Tim bought him another car that he lives in now.

John TompkinsThe point of all this – am I still being the selfish elder brother? John needs major dental work now. He is working at a regular labor type job. A friend says he is off drugs. AM I willing to be the elder brother who spares no expense to get his younger brother back to the Father? How much am I willing to spend to get John back to God? Am I willing to forgive the way our Prodigal God forgives? I’m sure the elder brother was muttering, “Why give him your ring, he will just run off and pawn it to pay for more drugs!” John did that to me many times. He has done his best to burn every bridge with every brother, sister, aunt, uncle cousin and friend he has.

What is the answer? What would John’s TRUE “Elder Brother(Jesus)” do? In His Word He tells us to forgive 490 times, to give if we have the ability to give, and to love him as I love myself. BUT THIS IS CRAZINESS TO ME, HIS ELDER BROTHER. I can’t possibly be the elder brother God wants me to be! I am so practical and reliable. I know nothing of the extravagant giving of my Prodigal God!

This series is for me, the elder brother. May God touch my heart and enlarge my view of how GIVING and FORGIVING God wants me to be! INCREASE MY FAITH!