Sunday, January 22, 2012

Help From Above

How many times have you heard someone say, “God helps those who help themselves”? Some people quote that like it came directly from the Bible. Yet that phrase is found nowhere in Scripture.

Psalm 46:1 tells us that God is “a very present help in trouble.” He is willing to guide us through any problem we find ourselves in. But in James chapter 2, both verses 20 and 26 say, “Faith without works is dead.” Some Christians expect God to do everything for them when they need to take corresponding action to what they believe.

For example, let’s say you need a job. The first thing you should do is pray for God to lead you to the right one. But unless God gives you specific instructions to wait on Him or apply at a particular place, you might need to fill out a few applications. It’s unlikely an employer will come looking for you. Jesus’ exhortation to “seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7) could apply here.
At the beginning of 1996 I had just received the revelation that I was called to full-time ministry. After attempting to step out as a full-time evangelist, the Lord quickly showed me it wasn’t time to do that yet. So I resumed working through a temporary agency. But then God instructed me to get a permanent job. I applied for a full-time position at a couple pf places but didn’t have peace in my heart. For the next few days, I got a little anxious because I couldn’t discern where the Lord wanted me to work.

Then one morning, I was at a prayer meeting when the thought popped in my mind about working for Billy Graham. At that time, the world’s best-known evangelist had his ministry headquarters in Minneapolis (which has since moved to Charlotte, North Carolina). Since I knew Billy’s ministry produced films, I inquired about doing audio/visual work for them. At the time, there weren’t any openings in that department. So I initially applied for a mailroom position.

A week later when it came time for my interview, I was told another position had “just opened up.” I immediately knew this was the job God wanted me to do there. Six days later I started work at World Wide Pictures, the film ministry of Billy Graham. My job was calling pastors around the country scheduling evangelistic films to be shown in their churches. I worked there off and on for three years until the Lord told me to leave for good and go on the mission field full-time.

In his book, “It’s Your Move”, Kenneth Hagin Jr. compares our Christian walk to a chess game. When we make a move, then God makes a move. Some believers are reluctant to step out until they see the total picture. But as his father Kenneth E. Hagin often said, “It is easier to steer a car when it is moving than when it is parked.” The Lord usually leads us one step at a time.

On the other hand, many people go the other extreme and try to accomplish things without any reliance on the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 warns, “then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” 

Maybe you recall facing a financial dilemma you didn’t know how to resolve but God came through at the last minute. Perhaps you had a sickness in your body that no doctor could cure but the Lord miraculously healed you. No amount of self-help materials would have assisted you out of those situations.

The truth is God helps those who cannot help themselves.

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” - Romans 5:6 (NLT)

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