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The Prodigal Brother - A Devotion

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John 17:20-24 (NLT)
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!”

We are Children of the Living God. Born into sin, we are prodigal to God not because of our own choice but the inherited generational curse that flows through our veins. The only way to escape the death sentence it so to be reborn by the Spirit of the Living God that desires residence inside of us. Relentlessly God has pursued His Wayward Children longing for a joyous reunion. He is ready to heal their broken hearts and wounded souls. He longs to restore everything the enemy has taken. The Lord longs to live in constant and complete fellowship with His Beloved once more. Your Father will stop at nothing to renew every facet of your life beginning with your heart not stopping there but also your mind and body. He wants to complete you and this is achieved through perfect unity with Him. We must want the Word, Will and Way of God, our Father, for our life to live in unison with Him. Jesus prayed for us before He went to the Cross that we would believe enough to unite our lives with His Will and Way. Jesus was success in accomplishing all that He came to do because He was doing His Father’s Will in order to receive His Glory. For the Spirit of God to flourish from the inside out of us requires that we align our life with Jesus Christ and walk in His Way but it also requires that we do so with a commitment to love and serve us as Jesus did. Why? Because we are called to be His Disciples and do as He did. There is a difference between God’s Inheritance and His Glory. Many will seek to open the Hand of God over their life and be successful in working the Word experiencing all the benefits of seed time and harvest. But then there are those who are after God’s Heart desiring all the benefits and blessings of living life in complete and total agreement with the Father serving as Jesus did. Which one are you today?

Luke 15:25-32 (NLT)
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

Some people have difficulty rejoicing when they see another Christian being blessed especially if the person has not been “faithful” in living their life for Christ. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working.” There are times when it seems like all the good things keep happening for the godless, uncommitted and unfaithful but remain elusive to us. The enemy lies to us telling us that our Father loves our brother or sister more than us. We always talk about the prodigal son who took his inheritance and lost everything. His heart broken and pockets empty, he returned to his father’s house to become his servant. His father celebrated his return with a great party. “Meanwhile” … his brother came in from working in the field and became miffed that as he remained faithful, his father celebrated the one who had left but now returned. His father came to him pleading with him to enjoy the celebration. He reminded his son that had remained faithful that “everything I have is yours” but bitterness caused this man to overlook his blessing and inheritance to remain dissatisfied with his life. He had received his father’s glory but could not see it because his heart was blinded by jealousy. What has God given you that is being overlooked? There is a lesson to be learned from this prodigal brother in this parable. He worked hard for what already belonged to him. We have an inheritance in Jesus Christ that we will never be able to earn but is established by faith. “Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.” (Romans 3:27-28) The prodigal son was greeted by his father with love and acceptance. However, his inheritance was gone. Maybe this was not such a bad thing because now this young man could focus on his relationship with his father and building a life of love because he had nothing to gain and everything to lose. In order to live, he had to remain in his father’s love. Bitterness will strip you of love every time. When we serve God for things, we miss the point entirely. By accepting Jesus Christ, everything belongs to us. Our faith completes us and gives us eternal life. This is gained by believing which is demonstrated by what we do. When we seek to gain what we already have, there is a root of bitterness born of doubt and discontentment making us blind to the life we have been given which is complete lacking no good thing. (Hebrews 12:14-16) Those who remain committed to faithfully loving and obeying God’s Word, Will and Way have it all. (I Corinthians 3:21-23)

James 1:20-25 (NLT)
Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

You are a Child of God. To have everything that belongs to you requires only to remain in right standing with the Father. The prodigal son physically left home to live life his way. He fell short and came crawling back home a broken man. The prodigal brother stayed home but his heart abandoned his work. He did all the right things. But this did not stop him from becoming bitter. By accepting God’s Word (Jesus Christ) into our heart it has the power to save our souls. We must constantly evaluate our heart condition before we focus on our physical position. We can hear God’s Word and want all His Promises, yet remain unwilling to do what it says and fall short. If you listen to God’s Word yet turn and walk away it does us no good. Our freedom is worthless if we do not experience the Love of God that leads to His Glory. Some people will take their freedom and run with it as the prodigal son while others will serve God just to receive his stuff and miss the extravagance of His Great Love available in His Glory.

John 1:12-14 (NLT)
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

To all who believe and accepted Him, He gave the right to become Children of God. Jesus has given us the right to “become” Children of God but the assumption of the church of today is to simply say that one believes is enough receive the inheritance. Not so fast, what about righteousness? What about obedience? What about faithfulness? We all know that just because a man or woman can produce a human being does not necessarily make them a parent. Parenting is a lifelong endeavor. It is a relationship based on love and commitment. There really is nothing lovable about a miserable, colicky baby that keeps you up every night, but your overwhelming love for the little person presses us to not give up. The Word became flesh. Jesus Christ is the Word of God made into a man. The Spirit of the Living God was released to us by Jesus Christ to live inside of us and reunite us with the Father. He is the guarantee that every promise and blessing is my inheritance but one can forsake his birthright as we well know through Esau. The Spirit inside of us promotes unfailing love and faithfulness. This is the Glory of God ready to be released in us. It does not focus on a physical inheritance but a spiritual one that has the capacity to grant the desire of every heart – body, mind and spirit.

John 3:33-36 (NLT)
“Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For He is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”

If you believe that the Word of God is true and valid, then it should be backed by genuine faith. God gave Jesus the Spirit without limit and so it has been given to you. The Spirit allows us to worship in Spirit and in Truth. The prodigal son had nothing to give his father yet humbly returned to serve him with his life. The prodigal brother gave his life to his father but did not know how to receive. Everything that belongs to Jesus Christ is yours as you remain in His Love. You must know how to serve God to receive His Inheritance but you must also know how to receive God’s Abundance released in His Glory. We must learn to obey God and love Him based solely on the fact that He loved us first. The inheritance that we can see is temporary and tangible subject to the world. This is the best God has for us. His Glory contains more than we could ever think or ask. It is reserved for His Children who remain faithful in service, righteous in position and know how to receive His Love. We serve Him simply because we love Him.

John 10:17-18 (NLT)
“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

Thanks to the grace, mercy and love of Jesus Christ, we have been set free. We now have the right to lay our life down for Jesus Christ voluntarily. God is not going to make you serve Him. He hopes that your love for Him will cause you to do so. He is clear that those who accept his commandments and obey them are the ones who really love Him. (John 14:20-21) To accept means to take or receive, to agree, to respond and to take the responsibility. Acceptance is not a forced position but a surrendered one. You have a choice in the matter. It is the point where we choose between blessing and cursing. Those who live in righteousness will abide in His Love because the Lord comes down to live where we are. This is His Glory and as we take refuge in the Presence of God – everything belongs to us! We abide there by choosing to love God and responding to His Love by giving up our life to follow Jesus. Those who are Children of God keep His Commandments and they are not burdensome. (I John 5:1-5) The prodigal brother kept his father’s commandments which was obviously not more than he could handle because he remained obedient. However, he missed the part about receiving his father’s love which secured everything as his own. What is God trying to get to you today that you are not able to receive from Him? No matter how obedient we are to the Word of God, we will not have the Will of God until we live the Way God intended us to live in His Great Love. What is keeping you from all that belongs to you? “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.” (Matthew 10:37-38) We must gain confidence in God’s Love for us and stop worrying about how He loves everyone else. You have been given everything. If you are not satisfied, maybe it is because your heart has begun to pursue other things rather remaining fixed in the Father’s Love. Faith promotes confident hope that He is faithful to deliver. It allows us to live in His Love even when we feel passed over and looked past knowing that He is faithful and His Love is forever.

John 13:1-5 (NLT)
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

Just before Jesus was crucified, he had one last meal with His Disciples and preached a message without words. He was about to do the greatest work of any man. He would give up his life for the salvation of many. He loved His Disciples. He loved them to the very end even though one would betray Him, the other deny Him and the rest go into hiding filled with questions and doubts. Jesus knew all of this yet still chose to serve them humbly by washing their feet. Jesus had all authority and powered yet used His Freedom to serve others. He knew that He was God’s Only Son. He knew that He was set to inherit the Kingdom of God. He knew that He was Sovereign and soon everything would belong to Him. He took off his robe, wrapped his waist in a towel and poured water in a basin then kneeled and washed the feet of those who would run from Him praying for their very souls. God knows your heart. You belong to Him. He longs for your return from whatever prodigal state that you are in to accept His Great Love and live in His Glory. If you are not experiencing the fullness and satisfaction of the Lord, then you must change positions. For some it will mean running back into the Refuge of His Love and for others it will mean kneeling at His Feet. Whatever it is – do it today. Everything belongs to you. You have a vast inheritance of blessings and promises guaranteed by the Spirit that lives in you. it is time to receive those things and walk in the freedom that you have been given. By choosing to use our freedom to remain in His Love, we will have it all.

John 15:9-16 (NLT)
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”

The Father is saying today, “Everything I have is yours!” Will you remain in His Love to have it? It is all about love. You cannot do anything to earn it just be ready to receive it! He promises those who do will be filled with overflowing joy! I want that today…how about you?

2 John 1:3 (NLT)
Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.

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