Natural Father vs Father God

notesWhile visiting friends at the beach, I went to a Sunday service that blew me away. Coast Community, in Gulf Breeze, FL, preached it much better, but since I used this for staff devo at my new job, I figured I’d share it with y’all too 🙂

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1. God is
Our Father

What person on the planet got here without having a father?

– Mal. 2:10 – Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?

– Gen. 1:27 – God created mankind in his own image

God made the natural to explain the supernatural. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have a natural father, as we wouldn’t be here without God, our Father. Now, everyones fathers may have a different level of involvement; many people have a close relationship with their father, while others have an absent sperm donor, or worse–one that’s abusive. Our earthly fathers, whether for good or bad, shape our views of the heavenly father. Because of this, we must seek to see God, in truth, for who He really is; separating who He is from what sinful man has taught us about him. He’s not just father of Christians. He’s father of all mankind. We all have the ‘genetic’ nature; however, we don’t all have the nurtured character, which only comes from relationship with the father. Since there are so many broken homes in America, most of our views of relationships are skewed. One myth, we tend to believe, is that:

Myth: God is unreasonable

– Gen. 3:1 – Satan said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from ANY tree in the garden’?”

Satan wants us to believe that God doesn’t want us to have ANYthing, but that’s not true. Most of our earthly fathers gave us gifts, but one Christmas, did you have something you desired that you didn’t find under the tree? Are we grateful for the things our Father has given us, or do we let that one thing drive us away from him? Is it unreasonable to give us an ENTIRE garden, and yet ask us not to eat from a single tree? Is it unreasonable to create sex for our enjoyment, and ask us to not have sex outside of marriage? No. His laws are for OUR benefit, not His. He knows that sex can damage us, cause deep grief, that many people would commit suicide over the loss of relationship, and many would not be able to connect whole heartedly to their spouse after having sex before marriage. Remember that:

2. God is A Compassionate Father

– 2 Cor. 1:3-4 – Blessed be… the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction

Is God only good to Christians? No, He’s good to EVERYONE.

– Ps. 145:9 – The Lord is good to ALL: and his tender mercies are over ALL His works.

We just saw that God created everyone, so you understand that you’re a work of God, right? This verse tells us that his tender mercies are over ALL of His works. Now, sometimes we don’t feel like we’ve had much of that tender mercy. When you’re seperated from the Father, it’s easy to misconstrue who He is. When we decide we’re tired of being seperated from our Father, and we seek His face, we find out that:

– Lam. 3:22 – His compassions never fail

– 1 Tim. 6:17 – God… richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment

But the child who is away from the Father believes the myth that:

Myth: God is unreliable

– Jam. 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or change.

How can God be unreliable if he never changes?

– Ps. 59:10 (TLB) – My God is CHANGELESS in his love for me

Changeless in His love for me? I thought if I messed up it meant I’d be abused, beaten, and called ‘worthless’? I thought if I asked a question it’d be seen as challenging his authority, worthy of the cat of 9 tails? You mean even if my earthly father was a gracious one, those few times he didn’t tend to my wounds doesn’t even portray God? My God is changeless in His love and His compassion never fails? Do my beliefs line up with that?

– Gen. 3:4 (TLB) – “That’s a lie!” the serpent hissed.

– Ps. 33:4 – the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

– Rom. 11:29 – God NEVER changes His mind about the people He calls and the things He gives them.

His decisions aren’t based on our ability to do right or wrong. And God doesn’t do things without reason; if he gave you life, it’s because you have a purpose. This verse promises us that we can’t mess it up. He will always fulfill and redeem the purpose on our lives.

– Rom. 12:2 – Don’t conform to the world’s way or beliefs. Instead, renew your mind, so you know what God’s will is and what His character is like.

His will is always good, pleasing and perfect; giving us a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).

Instability in children’s lives causes insecurity. We should all be secure children, since our heavenly Father is changeless. He won’t turn on the winds of emotion. The only way to renew your mind is to hear, study, believe, and apply the word of God. We must renew our mind, to believe that:

God is an Attentive Father

– Luke 12:7 – even all the hairs on your head have been counted!

– Ps. 139:16 – Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be

He wrote down every second, of every day, of my life?! That sounds attentive!

– Ps. 56:8 – You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

So God wrote the book on my life, before I was ever born, and knew all the tears I would shed? God is love and love only exists in freedom. Our freewill causes us much sorrow, as we chose to go the wrong way–a rebellious life away from our Father and his rules. Maybe it wasn’t us that made the wrong choice? Maybe it was our family members who were choosing to do wrong. God doesn’t take away our freedom, in fear that we’ll make the wrong choice. He allows us to make wrong choices, but He’s grieved right along side us. But your tears are so important to Him that he saves every single one. We can’t believe the myth that:

Myth: God is unconcerned with me

– Jer. 17:9-10 – The heart is… desperately sick; Who can understand it? “Yet I, the Lord, search it out

– David said in Ps. 139:1 – you have examined my heart, God, and know everything about me

– Paul stated in Rom. 8:27 (MSG) – He knows us FAR BETTER than we even know ourselves

God calls us his beloved. While human infatuation statistically lasts 12-18 months, God has a sleepless and lasting infatuation lasting through eternity. While we sleep, He’s up all night thinking of us:

– Ps. 139:17-18 (MSG) – How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me CONSTANTLY! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!

God isn’t using up all those thoughts condemning us or judging us… he is in love with us. Every thought is praising us, building us up, and watching our steps as His plan unfolds–insuring that the enemies plans are turned toward our favor

3. God is Gracious

– Eph. 1:4 – we are blameless in His sight

– Heb. 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Some of our fathers probably got mad at us during our time of need. They blamed us or left us to figure things out alone. Perhaps, in their eyes, we couldn’t do anything right. But it’s a myth that:

Myth: God is unpleasable

The truth is that God has accepted you (Rom. 15:7).

– Rom. 8:28-29 – GOD works all things together for the good of those who love Him

GOD works all things for our good, not you work all things out for your good… becuase if we try to work things out, Satan would be at the core of it, working all those things together for the bad. The Bible says, if you aren’t for God, you’re against Him (Luke 11:23). God has a plan for our lives, just as Satan does. Satan’s plan is to steal, kill, and destroy everything in our lives, while Jesus’ plan is to give us a future, hope, and work everything for our benefit. We can mess up a lot, but God never leaves us. It’s us that choose whether we are going to talk to the Father that’s right beside us, or if we are going to give Him the silent treatment. If we choose to return to the Father and get to know him for who he really is, He will work all our mess into something beautiful. But we have to surrender to His authority and allow Him to take control. His laws aren’t burdensome (1 John 5:3).

– Col. 1:22 – when you return to the Father, He reconciles you… without blemish and free from accusation

Luke 15:17-24 – When he came to his senses, he said… ‘I will set out and go back to my father’… But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.



Prayer:
God, thank you that your ways are higher than our ways; and that you don’t mimic or resemble the world. Instead you call us up to heavenly places, where peace and love reside. You know our pains, experienced our weaknesses, and always have us on your mind. Free us today of any lies or myths our parents and culture have burdened us with. Take us back to the places of pain, and let us see them with new eyes… asking you to show us where you were in that moment. Let your spirit show us, and set the captives free, loosing our hearts to love you and others in a greater measure. Continue to reveal your true nature to us and help us accept the fullness of your love, acceptance, and pleasure in us; knowing that every single thought, you have about us, is good.

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The Heart of Eve

I’m going to a group study with some girls from work and we are reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It’s about the fall of man and its affects on the human heart; particularly a woman’s heart.

Woman, in the garden, was made to be a helper, a beautiful life-giver. Women want to know that we are beautiful; and we were. We were the crown of creation, until the fall. Since the fall we have been cursed with dominating and desolate spirits; leaving us trying to control others, or leaving us with an overwhelming sense of loneliness, or a combination of both. That combination, is a recipe for ugliness. Let’s explain this phenomenon so we can start feeling beautiful again.

What made us fall?
The question of trust.

Can we trust God? Eve was convinced God was holding out on her. She wondered if she could trust God’s heart toward her. She wondered what God’s reasoning was when he told her not to eat this one fruit.

Eve couldn’t see that God’s request was out of love.
“Don’t eat the fruit, because you will die; and I want you to live.”
(Like telling a child not to touch something hot, because it will hurt them.)

Instead, she chose to see it as God withholding love.
“Don’t eat the fruit, or I will kill you.”
(Like telling a child if they touch something hot, you will kill them. Which is ridiculous!)

We continue to believe the exact same thing. We continue to question Gods commands and His motives! Why does he ask us not to covet, or lie, or have affairs? It can’t be that he loves us enough to warn us, because he knows that it will bring us death. It has to be because he wants us to suffer, and struggle, and fear his punishment. Well, which of these sounds like God and which sounds like the lies and perverted/twisted half-truths of the enemy?

What was the curse for our actions?

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” – Gen. 3:16

“the product of sin is death” – Rom. 6:23

Stasi, while contemplating this curse, states,

These things were not supposed to be so, but our sin caused them. Women today still struggle with this curse. We are cursed with loneliness (relational heartache), with the urge to control (especially her man), and with the dominance of men (which is not how things were meant to be, and we are not saying this is a good thing-it is the fruit of the Fall and a sad fact of history.)

Is your vast capacity for intimacy ever filled in a lasting way? Are you comfortable trusting your well-being to someone else? Most women hate their vulnerability. We are not inviting-we are guarded. Most of our energy is spent trying to hide our true selves, and control our worlds to have some sense of security. That self-protective way of relating to others has nothing to do with real love, and nothing to do with deeply trusting God. It is our gut level response to a dangerous world.

The lonely women are certain that if others really knew us, they wouldn’t like us-and we can’t risk the loss of a relationship, so we hide. We hide with angry silences and punishing withdrawals. We hide our truest selves and offer only what we believe is wanted, what is safe. Bringing us into many damaging relationships.

The controlling women, feel like they can’t trust anyone but themselves to do anything. Not allowing children to play, because they might make a mess. She believes that she had to take things into her own hands to get what she wanted. She took the fruit herself, because in her mind, God couldn’t or wouldn’t do it for her, and certainly a man could not.

Are we looking in the right place?
Whether we dominate and control, or withdraw in our desolation and hide, still the ache remains. When we feel the pain, we fill it with shopping sprees, second scoops of ice cream, romance novels, gossip, or anything else that can substitute-for a while-the real thing. But they never satisfy, so we have to continue to fill the emptiness with our indulgent bad habits; forming addictions and wondering if its possible to live without them. We take the fruit. We choose not to trust God. We get taken along the path to sin and broken relationships; And not until we finally break, finally realize that these substitutes will never cure us, do we look to God.

“I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” – Gen. 3:10

We hide from him and others. Masking our pain and unfilled desire for love, for freedom. And He seeks us out! He sees his lover and comes to the rescue

“God called to the Man: “Where are you?” –
Gen. 3:9. “Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife” – Gen. 3:21

“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

God had mercy on us, to clothe us and to give us a hope in the image of the first sacrifice, foretelling his plan to come die in our place; to take on the price of our sin on the cross. Now Christ has cleansed us with his blood and clothed us in righteousness through his death. We now have his blessing, and the way out from under the curse that Eve’s/our sin brought. By looking to him we can find wholeness and abundant life.

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him – Col. 2:9-10

“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” – John 4:13-14


Personal Testimony

This past week, of seeking God, has filled every void of loneliness and every void for intimacy. The hunger to know Him, and be known by Him, has been more than enough to fill me up. Luke 24 tells us that a couple of the disciples were walking along talking about Jesus, then Jesus showed up and started explaining things. I had a similar experience yesterday. After thinking and studying the word for a week straight, giving God as much time as I would a boyfriend, He started talking to me. He told me one of his purposes for my life, which blew me away. He showed me the path that he’s had me on and how it would play into this role. He brought up talents that I have thrown away, that He wants to restore and use for His glory. He even taught me more about them and how to use them. He brought up, and cleared up, issues of confusion from past gifts. He is all-knowing. He is intimate. He wants to give me a good life. He has prepared the way. He is guiding me into it even now; even before, when I could not see. I can trust His plan for me. I don’t have to take control of the situation, and I don’t have to hide from him, because he is here to bring healing and break down walls and set up banners of victory. I don’t have to keep him out, because he is safe. He is love. And he is my fortress of protection.