Self-help books are a plenty today. Everywhere you turn, you will be able to find 7-steps or 14-principles to solving every problem, from broken relationships to acing that next interview. Many of them give very sound advice and are well-meaning. But there is just no getting over the irony that is in the name; is there, ‘self-help’? If we are capable of helping ourselves, are we really having the problem?

In the parable of lost things, the things that were lost had no means of helping themselves. The sheep had no way of finding its way back home. The coin had no means of rolling back to its owner’s side. The prodigal son did not even realize that he was lost until he had lost everything. And even when he realized that he was lost, he had no means of recovering what was lost and had to rely on his father’s provision.

Furthermore, after each parable, Jesus adds this line,

“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

So if that which was lost could, in and of themselves, through their own effort, find their way home, would there still be such cause for joy and celebration? Indeed, if that which was lost could find their own way back, would they still, by definition, be considered lost? In the same way, if we could get ourselves out of our own mess by our own efforts, would there still be such joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents?

Beloved child of God, when we are deeply immersed in trouble, we start singing songs like;

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don’t they know, it’s the end of the world?
‘Cos you don’t love me/I don’t work there/I don’t make as much anymore?

We who are lost, we who are deeply immersed in trouble, cannot help ourselves. Jesus tells us this after the incident with the rich ruler.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-26

Beloved, we cannot pull ourselves out from our troubles. We need help. And the wonderful truth is, our Father stands ready to deliver you from your troubles. There is no need to labor to get out of your troubles, instead only labor to enter His rest. For the apostle Paul tells us,

“Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest” Hebrews 4:11 [KJV]

“For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.” Hebrews 4:10 [AMPC]

In the book of Nehemiah, Israel had been in exile from their land for a time. And by chapter 8, they had just finished rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and the exiles were returning. On an appointed day, Ezra the priest and scribe, together with Nehemiah, the governor, opened the law of Moses and read it to the people and Nehemiah said to the people,

“Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Indeed, this day was the day that the Lord restored His people to the land which He had promised their fathers and it was cause for much celebration and joy. He had delivered them from bondage, helped them out from their troubles, and He was happy about it.

Beloved, our Father is the same, yesterday, today and forever, and in the same way that He restored Israel to the land which He promised their fathers, our Father will restore to you all that which He has promised. And He has promised many things.

To Abraham, He promised,

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3

When Israel had still not entered the promised land, He promised,

“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds; the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.
Then all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.
And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.
You shall lend to many nations and not borrow.
And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.” Deuteronomy 28:1-13

Then later to the nation of Israel, He promised,

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.” Isaiah 54:2-3

Beloved, these things that He has promised are still true for us today because they are all wrapped up in these beautiful little packages from Jesus,

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

And when our Father sees it through to completion, He derives so much joy from seeing us blessed that He considers blessing us glorifying in the Son.

So beloved, that is the joy from which we can derive our strength; the fact that our Father is happiest when He is able to bless us. He derives joy from seeing us prosper. For He said,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]

So from this we can have the confidence to rest and say to our troubles,

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

For it is “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

So beloved, because,

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Therefore I say to you,

“And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 [AMPC]

Don’t seek self-help, seek Jesus-help. Rest, and be blessed.

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