Is God Frustrated?

Is God Frustrated?

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

About a month ago I wrecked my motorcycle at The Hebron Church of Christ work day. It was very embarrassing because I wrecked it in front of everyone that was there. I decided that it would be a good idea to take my bike up the steep grass hill behind the fellowship hall. I was going a little too fast and completely forgot about the drainage ditch at the top. I came over the top of the hill, slammed my front tire into the ditch, and laid my bike down. I ended up bending the highway bars into the side of the frame, breaking my left mirror off, bending the clutch bar, toe shifter and kickstand, and cracking a couple of ribs.
After I had fixed most of the issues, I then spent hours trying to bend the highway bars back into shape. I tried using a mallet, a blowtorch, a ride mower and tow strap, and even got so frustrated I ran over the bars with my truck. Nothing was working so I eventually just gave up. I’ll admit, it’s not pleasant at all to work so hard on something only to realize it was for nothing. We don’t like giving up, but sometimes it’s the only thing we can do.
Did you know there was a time that God Himself gave up? In Romans 1, Paul spends some time describing men that have upset God. In verse 18 we read that these men refuse to acknowledge God and even go so far as to suppress the truth. These ungodly men were determined to bury the truth. Even though God had clearly revealed Himself, these men refused to see it. Because of this God gave up. Three specific reasons are mentioned by Paul.
They exchanged the truth for a lie. Romans 1:24-25 tells us that these men were involved in idol worship. God gave up because they chased after lust and the rituals involved in serving false gods. God quit trying because they exchanged the truth about God for the lies of idolatry. God is the source of Truth, and we can be guilty of accepting a lie instead of Truth. The lie here is idol worship and these men placed more importance on statues and images. While we may not be worshipping a literal idol, we can still practice this today. We can worship the lie of possessions. When we spend more time detailing our truck, boat, or house than we do in our personal relationship with God, we are bowing to a lie. If we place more importance on anything other than God, we are exchanging truth for a lie.
They exchanged the natural for the unnatural. Verses 26-27 shows us the wickedness that they were caught up in. God quit pursuing them because they exchanged the natural for the unnatural. The word “natural” here means, “that which is in accordance to the basic order of nature.” Specifically Paul is talking about human nature. God did not intend for men to be with men and women with women. And yet these people knew the consequences of their actions, and chose to continue in them. Therefore, God gave up.
They chose to ignore God. In Verse 28 these men failed to acknowledge God so He gave them up to a debased mind. This word “debased” means, “unqualified, worthless.” Their action of ignoring God resulted in a worthless mind. A mind that sought after things that are contrary to God’s will. How terrible it would be to find out on the day of judgment that God wanted me, but I chose to ignore His love. God cannot be with the person who constantly ignores His existence, and so eventually He will stop trying.
Has God given up on me?

Profiting From A Penny

Profiting From A Penny

Neal Pollard

While walking down the hallway, I felt something lumpy in my left shoe. I pull off the shoe and, when I revived, I found that a penny was the aforementioned lump. The first thing I do when I find a penny is look at the date. This penny carried the date of 1964. It had that characteristic dark appearance of a well-loved penny, the shiny copper color long since faded. It had some scratches and had endured a bit of erosion.

Several things of a spiritual nature occurred to me about that 1964 penny.

It has been in service for a long time. Fifty years doing the same thing is amazing. George Blanda was still kicking a football at 48, and for that he is legendary. Others like Jerry Rice, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, and Earl Morrall hung around into their 40s. Some of pro basketball’s greats played past the age of 40, including Kevin Willis, Robert Parish, Kareem, Bob Cousy, and Karl Malone. In Major League baseball, pitchers Satchel Paige and Jack Quinn played into their 50s.  A number of renowned pitchers made it to their late-40s. Four position players made it to their 50s, and the last guy most of us would remember to play so late in life was Julio Franco (49). It is not just sports. I regularly meet people who continue to have the opportunity and energy to bolster the U.S. workforce in their golden years.  We are living longer and healthier lives than our ancestors!

That penny continues to be spent and passed along the economic chain, having survived 13 presidential elections, an impeachment and a resignation. It was “born” in the days of mainframe computers and in the pre-moon space program era. It may have ridden in Martin Luther King’s pocket during the Civl Rights era. Still it spends. 

How i thank God for the longevity of service typified by our elders and many of our senior saints, who have worshipped and serviced God for so long. These golden, godly girls and gents were teaching Bible classes and Bible studies before many of us were born.

It has likely been used for its intended purpose wherever it has gone.  A penny cannot be substituted for a dollar or even a dime. It cannot be eaten without painful consequences. It will not text or play music. It will not work as a monocle or a magic marker. It is a penny. No doubt, it has been spent and “re-spent” for decades, with other money, for a variety of purchases. A penny is a denomination of money. That’s the value of a penny.

As I think of you and me, God has an intended purpose for us, too. As priests of God, we are to shine the light in darkness (1 Pe. 2:9). As disciples, were are to go into all the world with the gospel (Mark 16:15). Wherever we go, that’s why we’re here. We can work a job, have hobbies, play games, and be entertained, but that’s not the purpose of our sojourn here (cf. 1 Pe. 1:15-17). As Christians, we have been given a purpose as part of God’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:9-11). Thus, like Christ, we must be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49).

It continues to circulate, though it can do relatively little. A penny is virtually worthless in our modern economy, but I am far from alone in picking up every penny I find (even those in my shoe!). Put a lot of pennies together and the value of what you have dramatically increases. 

You may think you have very little to contribute to the kingdom. Yet, when you join with others our collective value soars! God uses the little things from “average” Christians to do great things.

They say a penny saved is a penny earned. The penny I found may never be spent, but it has demonstrated its value to me.  Take heart!  Don’t be weary doing well.  Do what God has you here to do. Do your best whatever you can do!