Frustrated with God

Sometimes, I get frustrated with God.

Well, not really with God, more like frustrated with myself and the way I treat God.

I get down because I know I’m not where I need to be.
I’m not where I want to be.

I get mad because my life is still so much about me and so little about Him.
There’s more me in me than I’d like.

I get frustrated because it seems like no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get it right.
I continue to do the same stupid stuff again and again.

I get worried because I don’t seem to have those “God experiences” as often as I think I should.
I struggle at times to even spend time with Him.

I get anxious because I know that there is so much more for me to learn, so much more that God wants me to experience, so much more that I want to be doing.
I want to grow up much faster in my faith.

And then I read things like this from Paul…

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

I realize that I’m not alone.

I’m always a work in progress.
So are you.
So are your children.
So are your friends.
So is your spouse.
So is your Pastor.

No matter how far you feel like you are from where you need to be….
Or how frustrated you get with others because they don’t seem to be where they need to be….

Press On.

Desperately seek Him.
He will fill you.

More and More.

23 Comments

  1. I love that verse, the Christ Jesus took hold of me! That is huge! The death on the cross is like one huge hug from the Father that made us – HUGE!!

    Thanks for sharing today Jon!

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  2. I am definitely a work in progress and will always be. That doesn’t give me an excuse to fail. Rather it gives me a desperation for God’s grace and presence in every moment of my life.

    And as you said, it helps me have grace towards others in their journey.

    Reply
  3. Good post. When we get frustrated, we have to remember that God is in control. He has a plan and it is usually a good plan. Learning to trust God goes along with this topic, too. Blessings,

    Reply
  4. What a great reminder, Jonathan! I have feelings like this everyday. Wishing I could give more of myself to God. I love being close to him. You are so right though, about it never seeming to be enough.
    This verse says it all and I just want to linger in the Arms that I feel around me every time I pray to Him.

    Reply
  5. I was searching Acts 17:6 and saw your blog. Good stuff.

    Hospitality is simple- Greet people, “How do you do?” and mean it, then listen and give the the hop that is in you. Bumper stickers have mocked the phrase “Jesus is the answer” by retorting “What was the question?” I’ll tell you simply the question is: “How are you doing?” Because if you go deep enough, everyone without Christ is not doing that well, and Jesus is indeed the answer.

    Here is what I leave on every door of every house, street by street. It is being updated so may need editing or tweaking, but i gives you an idea of a way to implement the passion. Modify it to fit your story and use as you like:

    Dear Neighbor,

    My name is Dyrell Hicks. My family and I live at 1016 Bells Mill Road. My cell is 672-8031 and my work number (next door at the shop) is 548-CARS.

    We are contacting you because we care about our neighbors and are trying to do a few things to help folks.

    1. For one, we are matching needs in the neighborhood with people that are willing and able to help with those needs. For example there is someone right here on Bells Mill Road who does not have city water and her well is broken. She is a very hard worker but doesn’t have a high paying job and cannot get enough money together to fix it. So, she has been without running water for months! I can probably help fix it, I haven’t done a well before, but I am a professional auto mechanic and a “jack of all trades” and am willing to give it a try, but I do not have the money right now to buy a new pump (I think someone told her that is what she needed).
    Within your ability and according to your own schedule, would you be interested in physically or financially helping us to help neighbors who have legitimate needs?

    2. Also, through this letter, we want to find out if anyone else in the neighborhood has dire needs, or even simple needs. Maybe a senior citizen needs some yard work or just rolling out the big trash can to the road once a week. Maybe someone needs some groceries.
    And you always have an open invitation to share a meal with us, as often as you like, it’s always fun to get together and meet new neighbors or old friends. If money is tight and the cabinet is a little bare, just give us a call and tell us you got the letter and wanted to accept our invitation (#3 below), you don’t have to tell us money or food is short. But you don’t need to be embarrassed; everyone runs a little short sometimes.
    Do you or someone you know have ANY physical or emotional needs that you or they need a little help with? There are neighbors who care and have volunteered to help.

    3. We’d also like to meet some new friends, and we realize there may be others who’d like to do the same. We have a nice volleyball net and would LOVE to have some neighbors over to play (maybe regularly). We also have daily meals with neighbors, bring a “pot luck” dish if you have it, or just pop in for supper. We’d love to have you over. Any night is fine, just call first to be sure we’re having it that night. Basically our home and business are open to all. Consider it a neighborhood “coffee shop”, you can always stop in or call. People need a place they can go and hang out, maybe get some encouragement if there is a problem in their life… kind of like a bar, but with a boost from God’s love and His Word instead of booze. 
    I‘d like to use this letter as a way of collecting info and matching neighbors who have similar interests and then introducing them to each other.
    Would you like to meet some new friends in the neighborhood?

    4. Is Jesus Christ a liar? Is He a crazy man? The most important thing we are doing through this letter is trying to make sure that EVERY single household at least has the chance to hear and know what REAL Christianity is all about. Yes, I realize this is not “in fashion” today, nor is it “politically correct”, but I challenge you to read this letter with an open heart and mind. I believe you will see the importance of it. AND please consider the others in your home and let them read this, or somehow give than a chance to investigate these claims. If you have children, you have a responsibility towards them. Even if you, for whatever reason, choose not to read this, or not to consider following Jesus, what about them? Are you so sure you are right about your beliefs and course of life that you are willing to gamble you children’s eternity as well as your own?

    The well established set of historical documents that record the words of Jesus and His followers are collected in the Bible. The evidence of His positive impact on mankind is obvious. Because HE claimed to be God in the flesh, that He came to save us from our own self destruction and sin, He was either both a liar and crazy or He is the Son of God who came to change the world. He said He would be killed and then rise again in 3 days, and sure enough, after His death, 3 days later HE walked out of that tomb and was seen alive by over 500 people. A liar can’t do that. Since this is called “the year of our Lord” 2011, it looks like He did change the world!
    Yes, I know, some so-called Christians are crazy and liars and do not really obey God’s truth and instructions in the Bible, but Jesus Christ was not crazy and His Words are true and profitable for mankind in every way. The Bible is the only “Holy Book” of any religion that when followed and obeyed produces peace and love instead of war and destruction. The most radical followers of Jesus Christ who obey the teachings of the Bible give all that they have for strangers, even their lives. Radical, Jesus following Christians love their enemies, they build orphanages and hospitals and care for the sick- of their own and others. They invite others to join their faith, but they do not require it by sentence of death; if one falls away from the faith, they try to restore him with gentleness, not cut his head off! Even though false Christians have done violent things in the past, they were done against the Bible’s teachings and not according to it.

    Jesus Christ is alive. He is not crazy or a liar. Of course, we would be wise to listen to what He has said.

    So what is Christianity? Today and throughout history people have a lot of different ideas about what that means, some are accurate and some aren’t. I gauge “accuracy” by what the Bible plainly and clearly teaches about it, not opinions. As unbelievable as it may seem at first glance, God did inspire the men to write that book and it is completely trustworthy! It lines up perfectly with science, history and common sense. If indeed God did write that book, then it should be a first source, a foundation for our faith and life. In the above paragraphs, I’ve talked about Christianity, but not yet told you what it is really about. That is included in the last section. I put it there because we have integrated our work and our faith.

    5. I’d also like to tell you a little about our family business and how we are trying to integrate our faith and business in order to make a bigger impact personally and maybe, if it works, the idea can catch on and others can do the same thing.

    The reason I did not go into the paid, vocational ministry years ago is because I eventually began to believe that Americans needed to hear the truth about Jesus from people that do not have their hand out for a donation. Some people think preachers are just out for their money and sometimes it does seem that way. I think that has gotten out of hand. I personally believe that the buildings are the main problem. There’s plenty of money in the church to actually help people if we just met in houses, and didn’t blow all that money on big buildings. The New Testament Church met in houses. The Old Testament had a temple, but in the New Testament, we as Christians have become the temple of God, He no longer dwells in temples made with hands but in our hearts… more about that later.
    I’m not declaring any RULE about this, the Bible gives us leeway about some things and church buildings verses meeting in homes is likely one of those areas we are free to choose about; but me personally, I wanted to follow the apostles Paul’s example and work with my hands so no one can say I am after their money. Though he was single and it is a lot harder to do as a married, family man. I am finding that I do not have time to pay for buildings, and if I work enough to do that I don’t have time to care for the people we hope come to the buildings. So instead we are coming to the people, and inviting them to our home and our business, to meet us, to get your car fixed, to share a meal, to discuss this faith we believe and the life we live. I don’t want to set my religion in a big box on Sunday morning, but rather to let it be a part of who I am 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Because my heart is to tell people about the Lord free of charge, I want to be clear, I am not after a donation for me. I did ask earlier if you’d like to help neighbors in need, and there are legitimate needs where the money would go straight for the materials to help people and the labor would be done by volunteers, but for me personally, I do not want your money. But I wouldn’t mind having your business if your car breaks down and you don’t already have a shop you can trust. To tell you a little history that is pertinent to this concept of integrating our faith….

    From 1986 to 1988 I worked at a very busy, well established, local repair shop with a great reputation. The owner and his wife were respected Christians in the community. I was a young Christian, early twenties, fresh out of Bible College, expecting to start in full time ministry soon. Unrelated, but as a side note, Joyce and I had been married for 4 years at the time (yea, we started early, at 18 and 20).

    By this time in my life I knew it was right to give a hard day’s work for the pay your employer was giving you and I never wanted to give a bad representation of Christians by being lazy and talking about God when I was supposed to be working.

    It was common at that time for customers to come by the car and chat with the mechanic while he was working. I often heard NASCAR and weather conversations. So, here I am working on some brakes and the customer walks up and starts chatting. I had a “Let Jesus in your heart” bumper sticker on my tool box, (actually I still do, on the same box- it’s held up well) anyhow, he asks about the sticker and about my faith. So without stopping working, I talk to him over my shoulder and we have a very calm pleasant conversation.
    Along about then, the owner’s wife walks up and quite abruptly, I’d say rudely, tells me right in front of the customer “This is not the time or place for religion”. My heart sank as I realized the hungry soul of this customer might have been run away by this very unchristian interruption, but I hope not.
    Over the course of time that I worked there I would occasionally talk to the owner about our common faith and he explained how he believes it is our walk with God that people need to see and not the words of our mouth. If I recall, I tried to tell him that I thought we needed both. I know I have concluded that now. If all people see is that we are “good” people, they might be impressed, but unless we tell them with our words how it is we became good people, they won’t know the “secret” that will allow them to be good as well.

    This experience at my last job is why I started a repair shop in 1988. Most serious people of faith believe Christianity (or whatever faith they hold) should be more than a one day a week thing; that faith should be integrated into every arena of life. I have tried to live by that, but recently I am being compelled to take it further. That is another reason for this letter.

    We home school and have been training our children to work in the business for years now. 2 of them are grown, and 2 are close to it, and the volume of work we have been doing while we have been training them has been sufficient while everyone was at home in one household. We haven’t advertised significantly for years. But since they are growing up now, we will need more work, and rather than advertise the conventional way, I’d rather spend that money helping people.

    Even though we haven’t been doing a large volume of work, God has blessed us to be able to give discounts worth thousands of dollars a year to help people who are in a bind to get their cars on the road. I hesitate to mention that we do that, because I don’t want to toot any horns, but I do mention it because if we can get our neighbors and other Christians to bring their cars to us, it will help us to expand the business and be able to afford help others even more. I’d like to have enough cars go through the shop and make enough where we don’t have to ask for money to buy a neighbor’s water well pump, we’d just go buy one, but we are not there yet.

    We want to do ALL we can so that people can have every opportunity to be helped and encouraged in life.

    There is another dynamic that this new integrated idea creates that prompts us to ask you to consider bringing us your car repair business. Honestly, even though most would never tell us about it, they’d just disappear, there are some folks who are antagonistic towards Christ, or at least towards Christianity, and they may not come to our shop because we are so open about our faith.
    No matter how nice you are about it, and how kindly you present it, the cross of Christ is a stumbling block and a rock of offense, and some people are going to dislike you for sharing it.
    In fact one day a new customer told me, when he was first looking for us, he went to the wrong shop, and someone at the other shop told him- don’t go there, he’ll preach to you! So happens that customer was a preacher, so he scooted on over.

    Honestly, that is what I am asking of you. I am flat out hoping that the friends of Jesus will make up for any loss of business from those that would not come because of the message. I ask you to please consider using our auto repair business, because we have decided to spend our “advertising money” and a good amount of time sharing the good news instead of building our business, and we ask you to try our service and see if you like it. We certainly aim to honor God with our work and will do everything possible to make your ca repairs as inexpensive and reliable as possible.

    Don’t’ get me wrong, during the day we work on cars, we don’t have time to sit around and talk about religion all day. It’d be nice, but we have to pay the bills.

    But we do get the word out in every way we can. We try to be hospitable and invite customers to the house for lunch or dinner, and we write the following note on each oil change invoice regarding our oil change discount- which is around $25-30 off what an oil change should cost. In this note we will also FINALLY share the actual message and heart of Christianity to you. And that message is written on every oil change invoice for safe keeping:

    NOTE ABOUT THE OIL CHANGE DISCOUNT:
    Most shops lose money on oil changes because our industry has created a permanent “loss-leader” price war and consumers don’t know how much a professional oil change should really cost. Not all, but some shops definitely OVER sell additional work in order to make a profit. We very much dislike using drawing cards. To me, selling something at a loss in order to get someone in and “up sell” is wrong. And since we never intentionally sell unnecessary work and more importantly (and somewhat rare in the industry), we give you an honestly prioritized assessment of the work we do recommend so there is no undue pressure to get it fixed now.
    Looking out for you in this way saves you a lot of money and honestly makes us less money than the typical shop usually makes. So we really would like to charge the regular price it takes to do each job so we can make a living. And for most jobs we can do that….

    It just seemed wrong that a common service done for people should be a loss, essentially becoming a “cost of doing business”, because of that sentiment, in times past, from time to time we have charged what it really costs to do an oil change, which was fair. Overall, by the way we do business, I know we save people a lot of money, BUT when a customer sees an oil change twice as much, they don’t always see the big picture and they think we are too expensive. Since we do not want to lose potential customers, we have conceded to take the loss and charge a lower oil change price, even though we don’t “make up for it” elsewhere.

    We try hard to make our prices fair because we care about you and want to give you the most honest, competent work we can. We wanted to share some of the pain staking effort we go through in trying to be fair in pricing; we probably watch our prices too much, but we never want anyone to say “those folks claim to be Christians, and they ripped me off”. That is why we work extra hard, to be honorable and represent our Savior in a way that will lead people to Him and not give them any reason to miss out on His grace.

    Making less money is a very small price to pay for living Godly in Christ Jesus.

    On that note, to make sure this routine and significant loss of profit is utilized for good and since our determination to offer fair prices stems from our belief system, we’d like to take this opportunity to share about what is most important to us.

    Obviously the rest of this note is about more than an oil change discount. We now offer our customers this message of good news with each oil change as a 3,000 Mile Spiritual Service. We need these truths daily, certainly more often than every 3 months or so, but if your life is like most people, sometimes it seems we’re too busy for such things; but if that is so, then we truly are “too busy”. Our hope is that some day when you need some encouragement, you will remember that these great eternal truths from the Bible are right in your glove box or in your file (and on our web site under articles). But whether now or later we hope you will read over it and let God’s Spirit comfort you and lead you closer to Him. So if you have a few minutes, I’d like to explain exactly what I meant by….

    “LIVING GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS”

    Don’t get me wrong, we are self-centered, greedy people like everyone else, but God loves us anyway even though we don’t deserve it. The Bible calls it grace. He loves us and He planned a way to change our lives!

    In these bodies that our spirits inhabit, we are all too weak, and yes sinful, to live a truly honest, inwardly and outwardly Godly life (not comparing ourselves to each other, but compared to God’s standards). But God tells us in the Bible that there is a way that true Godly character and inner change can happen. It’s true, that as long as we live in this body, we will have an inclination to sin and selfishness, but there is a hidden man of the heart that can be changed NOW, before we die; and by living in accordance with that new inner life, in union with God’s very Spirit through Christ, we CAN live a Godly life as we learn to ignore the illegitimate demands of our bodies and listen to God through that inner man, our spirit, the “candle” of the Lord.

    Please let me clarify what I mean by “illegitimate demands of our bodies”, so you’ll know I am not talking about trying to obey some strange prudish requirements. Of course we know that murder, rage, rape, lying, stealing and things like that are wrong but there are some people that call themselves Christians (today and throughout history) that have taught and acted like perfectly good, God given gifts were wrong! These messed up ideas are NOT God’s ideas from the Bible! Some have said or acted like sex (even in marriage) is bad or that money is bad and you must live in poverty, lots of whacko ideas like that have been floating around for millennia.

    But God’s Word is a steadfast source of sanity. The Bible teaches that the unlawful or illegitimate desires of the flesh are the ones that are destructive to yourself or others. Now God has made laws about how life should be handled, how various aspects of life are to be “worked out” in order to protect us from our own destructive behavior. For example, please read the Bible’s perspective and guidelines about sex and money:

    SEX: God says to keep sex INSIDE of marriage for lots of reasons, a few of them are:
    1. So the resulting children can grow up in the best, safest environment possible
    2. So you won’t get a disease and die
    3. So a married couple can be better bonded together because the sex helps smooth out the little irritations of life
    4. Conversely sex outside of marriage also glues the couple, but without the commitment of marriage the lovers’ hearts are broken as a huge part of them is melded to the other and lost with each encounter
    God created sex, He made no law against enjoying a wonderful, passionate, exciting sex life with your spouse, in fact He commanded us to do so in 1 Cor. 7! (Read the Song of Solomon and Proverbs 5:19 to get the Biblical concept that sex is for more than making babies)
    Along a similar vein, regarding ministry and marriage: though a single life is allowed and encouraged for a preacher or anyone wanting to serve God without distraction, it was never commanded. The Bible expressly teaches that it is up to the individual whether they marry, and to do so is not sin. In fact the Bible warns against those who forbid marrying.

    MONEY: Another example- God said to work hard and provide for our families, He even commanded us to earn enough to have some extra to give to others. You can’t do that if you’ve made a vow of poverty.
    But He did say not to LOVE money because doing so lets money take the place of God as you begin to trust it and work for it instead of for God. We are to work as though we are working for Him, and HE will give us our reward. That will change your attitude about work because God is a good boss to work for, and He won’t go bankrupt! IF you’ve been working as though for Him, even if the company you work for cuts you loose, God will supply another job, or He’ll at least a provide a large bird to come feed you some scraps to get you through the famine (that happened to a prophet in the Bible).
    The Bible teaches that our earthly reward for our work is food and clothing and with that we should be content. The Bible clearly teaches that we should not desire to be rich. The American dream used to be simple provision but now it seems to be luxury and excess. Unfortunately MANY in the “church” have followed right along with our culture on this. This is not what God’s Word teaches regardless of what the deceived TV preacher says.

    My point in the above examples is that God’s Word (the Bible) and His real expectations of us are balanced, helpful and inviting; which is what you would expect from a message that truly originated from God.
    How can we be sure the Bible is from God? Well, one reason among many is that Jesus rose from the dead to prove His Words in the Bible were true. His resurrection is the most historically documented fact of ancient times. His early followers were put to death for their eyewitness testimony to His resurrection. The Words of Christ and the subsequent revelations and inspirations given to His apostles that are recorded in the New Testament are literally letters from God to the people of earth. This includes the Old Testament, which He often quoted while teaching during His walk on earth.
    The bodies of all the prophets and wise men of all the other religions have long since rotted in the grave, but the tomb of Jesus Christ is empty because He is alive! At the last day all men, including those false prophets will stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to give an account to God for their man made religions that led millions astray. But the Words that God left us are a treasure that reveals His plan for mankind.

    Man cannot create true religion out of thin air, but even those who are trying to follow Jesus and the Bible sometimes get it mixed up, usually because human pride wants to “know it all”.
    Well sometimes we just have to say “I don’t know” about different things in the Bible. But if we read the Bible for what it clearly says and don’t try to read between the lines, or understand every sentence fully, it tells us all we NEED to know; and we can all agree on the important foundational truths that it teaches.

    Of course no reasonable man would want to follow a man made religion that taught whacked out laws! What would be the point? Extreme self punishment and denial of good things (that God intended for us) does not take away the guilt of having done wrong. Neither do good works cancel out bad deeds. The Karma concept is not in the Bible.
    But the good news is that true Christianity exudes wisdom, not foolish strict rules or made up religious ideas; for “Christ is made unto us wisdom”. God is far smarter than we are, He had a plan to help us weak, sinful folks that He created, a better plan than we could have ever imagined.….

    The really, really bad news is that we can’t even keep the sensible, true guidelines, or laws that God actually has given! He gave some serious good rules. Like the 10 commandments, but NO ONE (except Jesus) has been able to keep them. If we could, we could go to heaven and be right with God through those good works, BUT we could not obey them, and sin produces death, through natural causes and through the judgment of God!

    We cannot, or at least by choice, do not control sin. We are weak and cannot do it on our own. Controlling the passions of the body can only happen by allowing God inside of us to restrain and direct those passions to their proper outlet instead of just letting the horse run free where ever it chooses.

    But how do we get there? This is the most open and renown, yet hidden mystery of the ages. True Christians of every century and denomination agree on what the Bible tells us clearly: that new life and transformation come as a result of our believing and receiving His undeserved, free gift of forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and then allowing, inviting and abiding with His Spirit living in us and through us.

    How does it work? He loves us so much that He sent His Son to bleed and die on the cross to take the punishment THAT WE DESERVE for our sins. When we believe and accept that free gift of grace, we are forgiven and “born again”, given a new life on the inside. Though our bodies are still the same, the inner man who was dead in sins is made alive through a spiritual rebirth!

    Because we are then clean and forgiven, God can come and live in us and through us by His Spirit. You can have that forgiveness and new life too… today.

    One day Jesus will return to finish business on the earth. There will be a great resurrection of all men with new bodies for everyone that will live forever! We all deserve great judgment and wrath for the way we have treated each other and God, and those who have rejected the most exquisite redemptive plan in the universe, those who have said to God, “I’ll have nothing to do with you”, those who have said “I am a good person”…. they all will see the record books, they will see their deeds, every lustful thought, every cruel word or deed, and their arrogance will be turned to gnashing of teeth and they will be lost forever in torment…

    But another book will be opened, one with the names of those that have accepted God’s free gift of forgiveness, they are written in the lamb’s book of life. Those in that book will live forever in the presence of their Creator.

    We all deserve judgment. By believing in and receiving Christ and His free gift of grace, will you allow God’s wrath for YOUR sin to fall on the cross of Christ, or do you choose to face it on that day on your own merits?

    If you are a believer, I pray you will whole-heartedly allow Christ to live through you, so the world will see God’s love and character in action. When we truly do that, the imputed and demonstrated righteousness we have by his grace will make us bold as a lion, and we will speak the truth in love. YES, people must indeed see our works and not only our words, but they must ALSO hear His words from our lips and must hear His story in order to believe in Him. When we both live it and share it, THEN we will have an impact on those around us; many who hear will make excuses and ignore God’s offer of forgiveness and eternal life but some will believe, and still others will scoff and some will even persecute.

    Choose today which side you will be on. This great gift must be embraced and believed, to ignore it leaves us with nothing but the judgment we deserve. Don’t let that happen to you.

    If you want to learn more and/or fellowship with some people who are serious about bringing this truth and power to our world, join us each week night at 5:30 for potluck, then 7 for study/prayer/worship; Saturdays at 10am to meet and then go out throughout the day, door to door inviting our neighbors to the great feast God has prepared for us all, then Sunday afternoon at 2 or so. Call first to be sure we are meeting that day.

    Our home and our lives are open to you, come and follow us as we follow Christ.

    The invitation above is on each oil change invoice we give out, and it is open to you as well. Hopefully we can share a meal and maybe start a friendship with our families or as individuals. We need each others’ help, and working together as neighbors to meet needs around us and support each other is how we are meant to live.

    6. Also if you are not well physically, we are not, but we serve the great physician, and we have seen Him miraculously heal the sick,, We would be glad to pray for you, so you can add the to the list of invitations .

    Please call or stop by the house anytime or by the shop Monday through Friday 8 to 5.

    Acts 17:6 “…These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,” Let’s do it!

    1016 Bells Mill Road. Cell 672-8031 work 548-CARS.

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