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 American Dream: Early Retirement

The american dream is to be able to live without working. Aren’t we all trying to figure out a way to retire early? Don’t forget to work generosity into your living expenses both now and during that retirement:

Luke 12:15-21 – … I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

What if retirement looked more like helping homeless people as a full-time missionary in Hawaii, instead of sitting alone in your lake house deteriorating? Having a purpose helps keep you alive, happy, and blessed. Remember to be rich toward God by helping others.

My friend summed it up better: Retirement doesn’t have to be a selfish time devoted only to our personal pleasure. It can be the time of our life when we have more free time to volunteer to help others, spread the Gospel, and make the world a better place.

However, I’m not telling you to spend everything you have, or stop saving for retirement:

Prov. 21:20 (NIV) – The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

Prov. 21:20 (NLT) – The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.

It’s wise to save for retirement. God wants you to do that, but we have to remember who gave us the ability to store up that wealth, and remember those who might not have the same opportunities.

Those who store up and never give, will lose everything; but those who store up to give, God blesses with even more:

Mal. 3:10 – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

God has the biggest storehouse of all. It fills all the heavens! So it doesn’t matter how big your storehouse is, or how much money you have, as much as what you do with it. God is always giving and blessing us!

Deut. 28:12 – The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.

Be wise and start saving.
Be wise and start giving.

Luke 12:15 – life does not consist in an abundance of possessions

Matt. 6:19-20 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 – As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.