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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Where to Turn When You're Frustrated

Craig Groeschel - Where to Turn When You're Frustrated

Craig Groeschel - Where to Turn When You're Frustrated
Craig Groeschel - Where to Turn When You're Frustrated
TOPICS: God Is..., Frustrations

I'll give you a little confession, and I'm not proud of this, but I've been really ridiculously frustrated with myself lately. And maybe some of you can relate, but I'm just not happy with the way I've been responding to so much that's going on in the world. I'll try to give you some context. With all of the world events that are taking place, I am a Christian, I am a pastor. I should be full of faith, but I have been unsettled, which is a spiritual way of saying I've been worried. Right, I'm kinda baptizing the word a little bit. I have been anxious and trying to trust God, but I just, I haven't been feeling comfortable with what I've been seeing. To add insult to injury, I've been way too self-centered in my leadership and in caring for people.

I want to be a servant and I wanna be others-focused, but I've just been too much about me. On top of that, I've been inconsistent, meaning I have a lot of goals to improve and to become better and to be more like Christ. And then I can crush it for a little while, and then I fall back, and I try not to work too much, and I don't, and then I do. And I try to be loving at work, and I am, and then I come home and I'm impatient. And I'm just not proud of my inconsistencies. And then on top of all of that, some of you wouldn't understand this, but I'm just really aware of my mortality. I know that I look like I'm 28 years of age, but I am aging so fast.

My eyesight is just like going, like, my iPad, I might have the font so big, I may have three words on the page before long. I've got prescriptions. I don't even know how to pronounce what they are. I'm not even sure what they're for. And I drink a lot of water, like all the time. I have to go to the bathroom so much it's embarrassing. It's embarrassing. Amy is starting to treat me like our grandkid. Like, "Hey, you need to go potty before we leave"? I'm like, "Lay off me, and maybe I do! It's none of your business". I've been so frustrated with myself, and I don't always like the way I'm handling what's going on. I just feel unsettled. If any of you can relate, the title of today's message is, "Where to Turn When You're Frustrated".

Father, we ask today that in Your presence, with so many people that are hurting and are anxious, that the truth of Your inspired Word would move us to trust in You in a way that builds our faith and makes us more like Jesus. We pray this in His name and everybody said. Amen. Amen.

If you do find yourself, maybe a little frustrated with yourself or with a situation that you're facing, we're gonna look today at a guy in Psalm 102, that was also struggling. Now, you may say who wrote Psalm 102? And the answer is, we're not exactly sure who wrote this. Some theologians think it was David writing this during a time of Absalom's rebellion. Others think that it was a prophet who was hurting in captivity. We don't know who it was, but we know that this guy was having really bad season in his life. And he cries out to God in verse one, "Hear my prayer, O Lord, let my cry for help come to You".

Do any of you feel like you're crying to God for help right now? He says, "Do not hide Your face from me when I'm in distress. Turn Your ear to me when I call, answer quickly for my days vanish like smoke, my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass, and I forget to eat my food". And then later on, he says, "I have to go to the bathroom all the time as well". He doesn't say that, but he could've. This guy is in distress. He feels hopeless. He can't eat. He can't sleep. He feels spiritually and relationally isolated. I am not an expert, but this sounds a lot like clinical depression. His world is unsettled, there's nothing he can count on. Everything around him is changing faster than he can keep up with.

Much like we see in our world today, the world is changing at an unstoppable, uncontrollable pace. I don't know if you noticed, but the rules they change and the policies they change, and what's appropriate to say is no longer appropriate. And what's not now is, and the government leaders change, and gas prices have probably changed since I started this message. And the weather changes and what's popular in music changes, and fashion changes, which is really good news for me, 'cause I had serious game in 1986. And from what I can tell is 1986 is on its way back with whitewashed jeans and Calvin Klein and Guess. And when members only jackets come back, I may go straight to heaven, okay. Everything around us is changing and it feels so unsettling and uncertain.

What can you count on in this incredibly uncertain world? When people will let you down, when your finances don't seem like they're enough, when you look at the world news and you think, how could this world ever get any better? What can you count on when everything is so uncertain? Well, we're in a message series called "God Is," and we're talking about the attributes of God. And the attribute I wanna teach on today, is what theologians call the immutability of God, which is a big word that means that God is constant or God doesn't change. When everything else around you changes, you can put your trust, you can put your faith in a God who never changes. This Psalmist feels a lot like many of you probably feel right now, he's anxious. He's unsettled.

In your world you may feel like, I don't know how we're gonna pay the bills. I don't know if I can ever afford a house. I don't even know if I can afford a tank of gas right now. I don't know what to do with my kids. Your marriage may not be where it once was. This guy is in a very similar place. And the same guy who cries out to God and says, "Are you even listening to my prayer"? then declares in verse 25 this. "In the beginning, You laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the works of Your hands. They will all perish".

In other words, they will all go away, they will not be the same, "but You O God, You remain. They will wear out like a garment. Like clothing, You will change them and they will be discarded, but You remain the same and Your years will ever end". We serve a God who is constant. A God who never changes. What I wanna do today is I wanna give you a lot of Bible verses, can you handle some Bible? We're gonna look at a lot of Bible verses and then we're gonna see how this applies to our daily life. Malachi chapter three, verse six, God says this. "I the Lord do not change". Hebrews 13:8, the author to the Hebrew said, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever".

What does that mean to us? What that means is, there was never a time when God was not God. There never is a time when God ceases us to be God. He is the first and the last. He is the beginning and the end. He always has been. He always will be. He is holy. He is perfect. He is without spot. He is without blemish. And because He's perfect, He can't get any better, because if He could get better, then He would've been incomplete before. And because He is perfect, He can't get any worse, because then He would be imperfect if He did. He is the God who is holy, holy, holy, and there is no other like Him. He says, "I am the Lord and I do not change".

Now, the first time I heard this, I was in my late twenties, and I started to think about the immutability of God, and I got really confused. I started to ask some questions, some theological questions that just didn't make sense. And you may ask some of those. We're actually going to wade into some, and we're gonna go a little bit deep. You okay to go deep? If God doesn't change, the first question that comes to my mind is, well then can He change His mind? If God doesn't change, can He change His mind? And this is a really complex question, can God change his mind? Because if He can't change His mind, then why should we pray? I'm already confused. And so, let's take a moment and look at a couple different verses in the Bible and try to answer the question. Can God change His mind? If God never changes, can He change His mind?

We'll look in Numbers 23 verse 19. And scripture says this. The Bible says that "God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind". Well, there it is. It's in the Bible. It's right there, very, very direct. Can God change His mind? The answer obviously from scripture is no, God cannot change His mind. God doesn't change, and so God cannot change His mind. You ready for another verse? We'll go over to Exodus 32, where God told Moses, "Hey Mo, you better check on your people, 'cause while you are out playing, they made some golden calves and they're not worshiping Me, they're worshiping these golden calves, and I'm going to have to destroy 'em". And Mo says, "No! God, please, I beg You to have mercy on my people. They just made a mistake. Please forgive 'em. I'll deal with 'em, don't destroy 'em. Please God, I beg You, please".

And in verse 14 of Exodus 32 scripture says, "So the Lord changed His mind about the terrible disaster He had threatened to bring on His people". Whoa, can you believe I'm bringing this up in church? I mean, that's confusing to me. If God doesn't change, can He change His mind? And the answer says, the Bible says He can't and the Bible says He can, the Bible must not be true. That's confusing to me. That's unsettling to me. This is a very complex, very serious question. And anytime we find ourselves with a question, the Bible, we have to remember some really simple rules. And that is that number one, we always have to look at the broader context, not just a verse, but who's writing, to whom, when, what is a local context?

The other thing we have to do is we always have to interpret the Bible in light of the Bible. We're looking for the very, very big themes, and we're looking for consistency when we find those things that feel inconsistent. And so, we have what I would call a complicated theological issue here, and I wanna give you the main two sides. And very sincere believers differ on what they view, but I'll tell you the two sides and tell you what most people believe. There's one side that's called an open theist, and they take the second verse literally. And an open theist would say that God's plans are not fixed, that God can indeed change His mind.

There's another concept and this is what I would tend to believe, that has a very big word that's very hard to say. And the word is, I'm gonna try to get it right. The word is anthropomorphism, anthropomorphism. And what this means is it's when someone is attributing human characteristics to something or someone. It's attributing, a human characteristic is kind of like Kung Fu Panda, okay? Kung Fu Panda is a panda that talks and does Kung Fu. The problem is that pandas don't talk or don't do Kung Fu. It's attributing human qualities to something that's not human. And this is a very common thing that the Bible writers do to God, because it's people writing about God and our only knowledge is humans.

And so, when you read that God is Spirit. We know that God is Spirit. Spirits don't have legs. And yet, you read in Genesis that God walked in the garden among them. That is anthropomorphism, or however you say it, that's attributing human qualities to God. You read that God reached down His hand. God is Spirit, God doesn't have a hand. You'll read sometimes that God had emotions. God is above emotions. God is beyond emotions. We take what we know of emotions, and we attribute them to God, and that is what many people believe was happening here. So what do we have? We have, God says, "I've gotta punish them". Moses begs them not to. And Moses is telling the story from His point of view. From his angle, looking at a God that he cannot comprehend.

He says, "God changed His mind," but we could argue that he did not know that God already knew that He was go going to show mercy, that He wanted Moses to ask for mercy, and when Moses asked for mercy, God didn't change His character, He was consistent with His character. Which is to show mercy, which is to show grace, which is to show compassion. There wasn't a change in God's character, it was a response to the actions of His people. That's what many people would believe, that we will attribute human qualities to God, and this is how Moses saw it.

So, if God doesn't change His mind, then it brings up another question. Why am I spending so much time praying? Man, I'm praying for somebody to be healed. I'm praying for provision. I'm praying for a miracle. I'm praying for people that are far from God. Why would I pray, if God didn't change His mind? It's complicated, right? What does scripture say? James chapter four, verse two tells us this, that "You do not have because you do not ask God". God wants us to ask. God wants to be glorified. God wants to be needed by us. God wants us to depend on Him. God wants us to ask, and if we ask, God will do what we ask Him to do, unless He doesn't.

First John chapter five, verse 14 says, "This is the confidence that we have in approaching God that if we ask, wait a minute, not just what we want, but anything according to His will, He hears us". Again, I'm confused. Which one is true? Does He give us what we ask or does as He give us what we ask according to His will? And the answer is both. The answer is both, that God does indeed respond to our prayers, but He loves us so much that He will never give us something outside of His will. So, what is the purpose of prayer? It's not just to get what we want. The purpose of prayer is not just to get God to do our will.

The purpose of prayer is for us to know God, so we can do His will. But what does prayer do? God wanted Moses to ask. God wanted Moses in a relationship. God wants us in a relationship. God wants us to, we need Him. He wants us to know that we need Him. I love when my kids need something from me, because I love my kids and I love to bless them. And I love when they ask and I can provide, because I love my children. So what does prayer do? Prayer reminds us that we're not in control, and it keeps us close to the one who is. We serve a God who is so good, He does not change.

Now, what does that mean to us? Meaning, you got real issues. Some of you got teenagers that makin' you pray right now. You're worried about the economy. You've got people in your life that told you one thing and did something different, 'cause people always let us down. Some of you're dealing with like massive financial stress right now, your credit cards maxed out, inflation's climbing, and the world feels like it's in turmoil. And spoiler alert, your body is aging. I don't care what supplements you take, the sag is coming. Do your diet thing, the body goes back to the ground. It's changing. Some of you are way too young to notice that, but one day you'll be using big font and taking bathroom breaks in the middle of the movie, okay? What do we do in a world that's constantly changing? What do we do when we can't count on anything?

We choose to count on a God who never changes. And I wanna show you from God's Word, three of the qualities of the immutability of God that matter to you every moment of the day, if you have the faith to see it. What does this mean to us where we live today? The first thing that I wanna show you is this, that God's Word that is living and active and powerful and sharper than any double edged sword. The Word that never ever returns void. God's Word never changes. Scripture says in Isaiah 48 that "The grass withers and the flowers fail and fall, but the Word of God endures forever". Matthew 24, verse 35 says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words," Jesus says, "will never, ever pass away".

What do we know about the living word of God? We know that the Word is fixed. It's enduring. It's lasting. It's true. It's irrevocable. It's indestructible. As one pastor said, and I won't say it as good as he did. He said, "It's not the book of the week. It's not the book of the month. It not the book of the year. It is the book of ages. This is the Word of God". The Word of God is living, it's powerful. You try to read it, it'll read you. It'll change you. You can go read the same thing you read yesterday and you see it a different way. It's living. It's powerful. It transforms you. It gives you a hope. It's the Word of God that never changes. The second thing I hope you'll recognize is that God's character never changes. His character never changes.

God didn't have to study to be wise, because He is wisdom. He didn't have to receive love in order to give love, because He is love. He didn't have to see mercy to show mercy. Why? Because His mercy is everlasting. God's character never, ever changes. He's always with you. He'll never forsake you. And that's why Paul asks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword. No, in all of these things". Whatever you're facing, whatever comes against you, whatever hurt, hurdle or opposition you face today.

We, "In all these things," scripture says, "we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us". And Paul said, "With everything in me, I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the past, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord". Our God is always good. He cannot be not good. He's always loving. He cannot not be loving. He is holy and He is just, and He is righteous and He's always patient, and He is always full of compassion. And that's why He says, "I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is no one like Me". That's our God. He's always good.

So, when you're worried about someone and you don't know how to reach them, you don't know how to care for them. You don't know how to, you don't know how to help them know how much you love them and how much you want to help them. When you have a problem with a kid, when your marriage feels like there's almost no hope. When you have ongoing nonstop financial stress. When you look at the global events and it makes you unsettled, and you worry about your kids growing up in a world that seems to be deteriorating moment by moment, day by day, week by week and month by month. You remember that God's Word, it never changes. That God's character, it never changes. And the good news is God's promises never change.

God's promise never change. Don't raise your hand, but I wonder how many of you have had someone break a promise to you? It's devastating, isn't it? When you think someone's going to have integrity and they don't. When you think someone's telling the truth and they're not. When you think someone's always gonna stand by you and they don't. It's devastating that people are fickle. People are fickle. People are fickle. People will fail you. People are fickle. People may be fickle, but God is always faithful. He's always faithful. He's always faithful. Random question. How many of you like gift cards? Anybody like gift cards? I kind of like 'em too. Like, don't give a gift card, it's not personal. Like, no, actually I can get what I want. Give me a gift card. Right? You know what I'm saying? I like gift cards. I actually read an article on the internet that has to be true. 'Cause everything on the internet is true.

Abraham Lincoln said everything on the internet's true. This article said that "There's about 15.5 billion dollars on gift cards not used". Some of you right now, you're going, ah, I know. And I got like $7 and 27 cents left on my Applebee's cards. We gotta go back to Applebee's, 'cause we can get an appetizer for that Applebee's gift card. And I'm guessing right now, a lot of you probably have a gift card that somebody gave you somewhere that's unused, not redeemed and waiting for you to get what that card promised you could have, that you haven't gotten yet, because you haven't applied what's on the card to get the value out of the gift that somebody wanted to give to you. And I would say in the very same way, many times over there would be thousands upon thousands of unclaimed promises from God that He has for His people that are waiting for you in heavenly places. He has paid the price, He has blessed you with the gift, and yet you haven't received the promise that He has for you.

What are the promises of God? Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:20, he said, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are yes in Christ". Whatever promise God has in His Word, it applies to you. It's for you. He's no respecter of persons. He blesses you. If you are in Christ, you are His child. He loves you as His own. In the same way, I'm ridiculously loving and generous to my kids. You want it? I'm gonna try to bless you with it. Why? Because I love you. In the same way that we love our children, God loves us. And if a father knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more does our Father in heaven know how to give good gifts to those that He loves. He has promises for you, and it's not just for a better way of life or more material blessings. Oftentimes, it's for things far better than material blessings. It's for internal blessings and spiritual blessings and relational blessings and ministry blessings in the way that God uses you.

What I want you to understand, is no matter what you're facing and no matter where you're hurting and no matter what pain that you're enduring, and you can't sleep at night, and you pray and you wonder God, do You hear me? Are You still there? Do You care about me? That God's promise to you is yes and amen. What are some of God's promises for you? There are so many, I don't even know where to start, but I might as well start somewhere. And somewhere in the promises of God, you may find Him speaking directly to you, because you're not here by accident. This isn't a coincidence. God's Word is living, it's active. His character is constant and His promises are yes and true for you. He promises that when you hope in the Lord, He will renew your strength. You'll mount up on wings as eagles, you will run and not grow weary. You will soar and you will never faint.

He promises that no weapon formed against you will ever prosper. He promises that even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you can fear no evil, for He is with you. His rod and His staff comfort you. He promises you that His mercies are new every morning. That you may be hurting in the evening, but joy comes in the morning. He promises that anytime that you're tempted by our spiritual enemy, who's mission is to steal, kill, and destroy. Anytime the tempter tempts you to walk away from God, God promises, He will always give you a way out, every single time.

There is an escape and there is a power greater than you to get you out of snares of the evil one. And if you do sin, He promises that He is faithful and just to forgive every bit of your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. No matter what you're facing, He promises in Christ, you are more than a conquer. You are an overcomer. You have the very same spirit dwelling within you, that is in Christ Jesus, and you have resurrection power. He promises if you cast your cares upon Him, He will love you, He will minister to you because He cares for you. He promises if you're in Christ, if you stepped away from your old life and stepped into the grace of Jesus, not by your religious efforts, not by your own good works, but only by His grace, it's grace through faith.

If you are in Christ, He promises, your name is written in the Lamb's book of life, and Jesus has gone ahead of you, preparing a place for you. And He promises He will come back, and one day, the trumpet from heaven will sound and the dead in Christ will rise. And those who are believers will meet Him in the air. And you'll reign and rule with Him forever, in a place where there will be no more crying and no more tears and no more pain and no more shame. And the old order will pass away, because in the presence of a constant, unchanging God, the new will come. Who is He? He is like Noah. He's constant in every way. His love for you never changes. His grace is always available. His Word applies to your very moment.

Your very heart is always living. His character is constant. He cannot be not good. And His promises, whichever one you need, is always true for you. It's yes and amen. Somebody, it's time to go to Applebee's. It's time to redeem His promises, and in a world where nothing is constant, to hold onto the one who is always constant. The one who never changes and is always trustworthy.

So Father, we pray, in the name of Jesus, that Your Holy Spirit would do a work in Your people.

As you reflect today, those of you online or at our different churches. I wonder how many of you would say that you do feel unsettled. You may like me, you're a little bit, maybe even disappointed at where you are, or how you're acting. You may not like the situation you're in. You're unsettled right now with all this going on in the world. Would you just lift up your hands right now. You can type it in the comment section. I'm unsettled, pray for me. I'm anxious, pray for me. Whatever you want, just to type it in there. And you can say pray for me, and we will.

Father, we do. We pray for so many people that are hurting today and unsettled. We thank You that You are always a good God, that You're always a faithful God, that You're always a God of mercy. That You're always just God, that You're always full of grace and compassion. And You're always available to us. We thank You, God, that You're so good. That You didn't wait for us to seek You, but You showed Your love to us in Jesus. God, we put our trust in You. We cast our cares on You. In a world that is always uncertain, we cling to Your Word. We believe in Your character, and we claim Your promises to be true. God help us to find peace in You, because You are always, always good.

As you continue praying today, I wonder how many of you, if we sat down and had just kind of talk and I could ask you questions about your spiritual life. I wonder how many of you would be unsure or uncertain of where you stand with God. I'm guessing there are maybe a lot of you that grew up like me. I grew up going to church, but I just didn't understand. I thought I needed to always be better and I was never better, and I always felt bad. And I didn't understand the gospel. Some of you, you may not be a church person at all. And you're like going, ah, I've been really bad. Or some of you think you know, who really needs all that, but yet you're empty and you're longing for something.

Let me just tell you how good God is. God loves you more than you can ever imagine. That's His character, it never changes. He loves you so much that "He gave," scripture says, "His one and only Son". That's how much He loves you. "That whoever believes in Him wouldn't perish, but would have eternal life". Who is His Son? God sent Jesus who was perfect in every way. And what I love about Jesus, is He hung around people that were messed up and whose lives were falling apart and broken. People just like me. And He loved them exactly where they were. And because He was without sin, because He was perfect, He could be the innocent sacrifice to give His life, satisfying the justice of a God who loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die in our place. He is the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God. God is loving and God is just and His character never changes. And because of how much He loved us, Jesus died so we could be forgiven, and God raised Him from the dead.

Wherever you're watching from, scripture says this, that "Anyone who calls on that name, the name that is above every name. Anyone who trusts in Him, your sins would be forgiven and you would be made brand new". Here is a promise for you. If anyone is in Christ, they're new. Here's a promise for you, that in Christ, there is no condemnation. Here's a promise for you. If you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all in righteousness. But we don't just come to God with selfish motives, hey, forgive me, make me better. We come to God because He's worthy of our whole life, our worship.

So wherever you're watching from today, those of you who recognize, yep, it's so good without God. Let me make you a promise from me, it's always gonna be not so good without God. You need Him. You need Him, and He loves you. You recognize you've sinned and you want His forgiveness, we're just stepping away from the old life, and we're putting our trust in Him. We're surrendering to Him. We're saying my life is no longer my own. I want to be Yours. I wanna be Your disciple. I wanna devote my whole life to You. Because of who You are, You're worthy of it all. So today by faith, there are those of you. You step away from the old and you step toward the new. Jesus, I believe You are who You say You are. Today, I give You my life, I surrender. Forgive my sins, I give You my life. That's your prayer.

Would you lift your hands high right now, all of our churches? Just lift them up. As we see people at all of our churches, oh my gosh. Somebody, thank God for what we're seeing. Those of you online, just type it in the chat. I am surrendering my life to Jesus. Just type that in there right now. I'm surrendering my life to Jesus. And as we have people all over the world, stepping into the newness of promise of God, of life in Christ, would you just pray with those around you? Pray:

Heavenly Father. Forgive all of my sins. Jesus save me. Be first. The Lord of my life. Fill me with Your Spirit. So I could know You. And follow You. And serve you. Thank You that You never change. That I could always trust You. Because You're faithful. Because You're good. Because You're loving. I give you my whole life. In Jesus name I pray.

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