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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Anxiety & Depression – Distorted Thinking Patterns

crazyMany of us have distorting thinking patterns. We haven’t yet renewed our minds. We have stinkin’ thinkin’ that keeps us in anxiety, depression, negativity, and sickness.

Below are 10 types of distorted thinking patterns.

Negative feelings come from negative thinking, so by monitoring your feelings you will eventually be able to figure out which thoughts and beliefs trigger your anxiety. The first step is to identify the trigger. Most people have thought these ways their whole lives, but God says, ‘Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2Cor.10:5).’ Put your thoughts on trial, convict them, and reprogram them with God’s Word. The mind set on the Spirit brings life and peace. ‘Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on the new nature created to be like God–truly righteous and holy (Eph.4:21-24).’ Your thinking is vital to your spiritual life as breathing is to your physical life.


Distorted thinking patterns:

think1. ‘What if’ thinking

What if I lose my job? What if I lose my home? What if my children get hooked on drugs? What if my spouse is cheating on me?

‘What if’ thinking breeds anxiety and fear. Sometimes this even turns into a self fulfilling prophecy. If you treat someone like they are cheating on you, they might eventually just start doing so. If you focus on ‘what if’, your fear grows. If you focus on God’s Word, your fear goes. Learn to replace ‘what if’ with what God’s Word says: God always causes me to triumph. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God be for me, who can be against me?

2. Catastrophizing

worryThe mind magnifies unpleasant events and transforms them into something more awful, terrible, or horrible than they really are. Making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s like spending $10 dollars on a 2¢ problem.

Like pouring lighter fluid on a flame, they use extreme words like hopeless, terrible, unbearable, devastating. These words fuel the anxiety. The only way to put out the fire is to eliminate inflammatory words from your vocabulary and replace them with more practical, realistic, and less emotionally charged words, such as unfortunate, inconvenient, or difficult.  Stop the drama. I choose faith-building words because ‘we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God (Rom.8:28)’. Practice this pattern of thinking until it becomes automatic, making it a habit and mind-set.

3. Habitually expecting the worst outcome

worryThey usually think if something can go wrong it will, and it will happen to me. ‘My boss didn’t acknowledge me today, so I’m sure she hates me and will probably fire me.’ ‘My husband is late for dinner, I’m sure he is having an affair.’

Realize that when you repeatedly think about something, you create the potential for these thoughts to become self-fulling. Especially if you treat someone as if they are already doing what you fear, it makes them more likely to go ahead and do it. Instead of expecting the worst possible outcome, begin to expect something good to happen to you. Confess God’s Word, ‘No evil will befall my family or me, nor will any plague come newer my dwelling (Ps.91:10).’ Expect God to do something good, and your faith will release a blessing.

4. Leaping to conclusions

needsThey mistakingly believe that they know what another person is thinking without having any facts to support it. They repeatedly and habitually make negative assumptions that fuel depression and anxiety.

You walk in a restaurant and find two friends eating lunch; you see them whisper and immediately assume they have abandoned your friendship and are badmouthing you.

Begin to identify when you are jumping to conclusions. Challenge yourself to expect the best of the other person. Instead of becoming anxious about things you don’t even know are real, determine to wait until you have more information before drawing a conclusion. ‘I am ever ready to expect the best of every person (1Cor.13:7).’

5. Black and white thinking 

perfectionismYou can’t see grey. You are probably a perfectionist that thinks their work is flawless or worthless. You see average as complete failure. You think first place is the only winning spot and every thing else is a loser.

This distortional thought pattern sets you up for failure, disappointment, depression, and anxiety. You will work endless hours to make something perfect, or will procrastinate and never finish because if it’s not perfect, you feel worthless. Also, if you struggle with perfectionism, you will need to watch that you don’t fall into the trap of comparisons. ‘Learn to be content with whatever you have (Phil.4:11).’ Quit focusing on what you don’t have, and start thanking God for what you do have. Choose to love yourself, forgive yourself, and accept yourself unconditionally, even if you make a mistake.

6. Unenforceable rules

nowTrapping in anxiety, they make rigid rules about what should, must, or ought to be done, and tries to put people in a box. The more unrealistic and unenforceable the rules are, the greater the disappointment. ‘They should stop cutting me off in traffic.’ Situations, people, and society aren’t usually going to turn out in your favor. The only should statement you need is ‘I should practice mercy and forgiveness’. ‘Love keeps no records of wrongs’, so I throw out my record-keeping book. Eliminate should statements and use I would like to or I prefer.

7. Labeling

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is absolutely false. We need to eliminate labeling words from our vocabulary, such as idiot, loser, klutz, failure, stupid, pathetic, pitiful, jerk. Labels destroy self-esteem, self-worth, and as a result many never accept love. ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue.’ Choose to see yourself and others the way God sees them. He calls me ‘the apple of His eye,’ ‘His beloved,’ ‘His child’.

8. Negative Filter

capableThis person usually discounts all information that is positive. They discredit compliments. They remember mainly criticisms and negative information. They focus on the bad while the good slips away. These ‘pit thinkers’ usually overgeneralize, taking one bad circumstance and believing its it the trend of how your life will proceed. They use words like always and never. ‘I will always be like this.’ ‘I will never change.’ Stop using absolute words that set you up for failure. Try to enjoy the next compliment you receive. Practice eating the meat and spitting out the bones. Remember that God Himself forgives and forgets our failures. ‘Think about those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil.4:8).’ Filter the news, tv shows, music you listen to. If anything falls short of every criterion, refuse to watch, think, or speak it.

9. Emotional reasoning

graceThis person feels like their feelings are facts. If they feel hopeless about an exam, they might not even show up to take it. They give up because their emotions make them feel defeated. The healthy thinker separates emotions from their overall self-worth. They realize that despite how they are feeling, they can change the outcome of the situation.

Realize that negative feelings are a sign that you are thinking negative, depressing thoughts. You need to immediately tune in to the thoughts or beliefs that are at the root of the emotion and simply change the channel of your mind to the one of gratitude. I will not be influenced by my emotions or feelings, because ‘the just shall live by faith (Heb.10:38).’ ‘Let us not weary in doing well: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal.6:9).’

10. The blame game

Many are stuck in a trap of blaming others or God. This creates a vicious circle of thinking and feelings that leads to anger, resentment, bitterness, depression, and anxiety. People with a victim mentality fit within this group of faulty thinkers. They feel like everything bad that happens to them is someone else’s fault. Blame locks you into the past; it prevents you from examining yourself, recognizing, and removing thought patterns and mind-sets that continue to sabotage your life. Learn to take responsibility for yourself, forgive yourself and others, and refuse to blame anyone. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ Refuse to rehash any hurt or pain.


mistakeTestimony: I remember when I started trying to reprogram my mind. Every single thought I had was negative. I put a list of these 10 concepts on my dashboard, and memorized them. I started pinpointing them and trying to refuse the negative thoughts. In the beginning I could hardly keep out a negative thought for a whole second. Just like any goal, you have to do some work. Lifting weights will wear you out, but the next time you go, you are stronger. You can work your way up to 2 seconds without negativity. Maybe you can start to think one positive thought; try to convince yourself that it is true. At least believe that God’s Word is true and quote those over yourself. Keep going! It’s been a year, or two, and I am completely changed. I can’t stand hearing a single negative comment. After coming out from under nearly 25 years of negativity, I truly have a distaste for it. I am free, positive, and know God’s plan for me is good. I can see myself through His eyes, and I can see bad situations through His eyes. IT. IS. SO. WORTH. IT. Don’t give up.

distorted thinking

healthy thinking


Worship: Emma, by Jason Upton: Trusting The Angels

facePrayer: God, thank you for creating us and saying ‘It is good’. Restore us back to our factory settings. Help us once again submit our will, ways, and thinking to your ways which bring health and wholeness. Thank you for being the great physician, our healer, and therapist. Thank you Spirit for being our counselor and teacher. Thank you Jesus for setting the example and giving us authority. Help us take dominion over our own minds and submit them to your kingdom instead of this world which bring such distorted thinking. Everything out from under your authority is in rebellion and chaos. We want to overcome the enemies of anxiety and depression. Go to this generation now and tear down the spirits exalted above it. Let the knowledge of you cover the earth as the sea. Stay the death angel and deliver your people from their slavery; free their minds. Bring them out of bondage. Let this generation x, that the world thought would be the dog, rise to be the head and not the tail. Bring transformation to their minds, and to the world. Wrap them up in a cocoon of your Words and see them through this transformation where they will no longer crawl, but sprout wings, in Jesus name, Amen.


For more on this topic get the book:

Bible Cure for Anxiety