“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth–the LORD God Almighty is his name.”
–Amos 4:13 (NIV)
One day, I heard a famous Bible teacher mention a man who was offering a supposed miracle wallet to those in his radio audience. The offer went something like this. “If you, my listeners, would only send in a small donation, I’ll send you this special wallet! It will never be empty!”
As I listened to this famous pastor further, his question was apparent. “If this miracle wallet never ran out of money,” he asked, “why didn’t the advertiser just keep it?”
I have much the same question when it comes to self-help books. If it’s true that money grows on the self-help tree, I have often wondered why these authors bother to sell their books at all. Why not give them away? If there’s really a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow which I can find if I just try hard enough, maybe I don’t need your book. My skepticism has caused me to rename the book “Think and Grow Rich”. I call it, “Buy My Book and I’ll Grow Rich”.
I became curious about something else, so I asked Google approximately how many self-help books there are in the world. I got a great answer, which I’ll let you guess at for a while. (If you’d really like to know, the answer is hidden somewhere in this blog entry.)
By reading these books, I wonder if we realize we’re making a statement. The message that’s coming through loud and clear Is one of independence and self-mastery. I challenge you, therefore, to examine more of these book titles in the light of God’s Word if you have any doubts about what I am saying.
Maybe you are not into self-help books at all, and you don’t think this applies to you. But it does, because according to the Bible, we have all tried to assert our independence from a loving God time and time again. The Bible’s pages tell us that this self-sufficient attitude is what got us kicked out of the garden of Eden in the first place, and the self-help book is only one example of our common problem. But how many self-help books are there? Too many.
We have shaken the fist of independence in God’s face for too long, but He is asking all of us to turn a corner in our thinking. He is holding out His arms, pleading with us to shift away from our man-centered approach to life and acknowledge His sovereignty. God longs for us to experience a hint of the true riches He has in store for His followers, as we see what a mighty God we serve. So let’s look at a few ways we can increase our vision of Him.
I have grown from a careful study of God’s Word, so I would like to look at the opening verse with you. First, it talks about a God who formed the mountains and created the wind. In contrast, Jesus said that by faith we could move mountains.
While God literally can move mountains if He chooses, mountains represented the obstacles we all face, according to Jewish thought. God is telling us that our problems are a piece of cake to the God who created the entire physical universe.
Now, reflect on a God who is vast enough to create the wind, yet small enough to reveal His thoughts to man. He gave us day and night by turning the dawn to darkness. So is it any wonder that He shows His Lordship by treading on the high places of the earth?
The next way we can draw closer to God is by reading inspiring Christian books. Stories about missionaries and other heroes of the faith can only bring us closer To God. The reader of these books who truly seeks Him can not help but feel challenged.
Another tool which can help us approach god can be found in listening to Christian music. This will both encourage and strengthen us when life’s burdens grow heavy.
Two songs come to my mind. One classic Christian song tells us to “turn our eyes upon Jesus”, while Chris Tomlin delivers a similar message in a more contemporary style by affirming, “How Great is Our God”.
I am aware that this kind of thinking is foreign to many people, but it doesn’t have to be. We can be strengthened and encouraged by one another, but this flies in the face of the independent spirit we have been discussing.
I often hear a declaration like this: “I don’t need other people to help me worship God.” While it is true that there are times when we all need solitude, Christian fellowship will greatly aid us in our journey. It will help us become closer to God, while we go about the daily business of life.
The Bible makes it clear that we ultimately need one another, so let’s briefly look at this scenario: Pretend you are walking towards your friends at a campsite, and it’s cold out. You wonder why someone doesn’t build a fire.
Upon arriving at camp you find, to your surprise, that there actually is a fire. You see a thin wisp of smoke, but you also see something else. Your buddies are laughing and joking, while the tiny fire dies down a bit more every minute.
“What are you guys doing? The fire’s going out!” you shout, running to grab a big log. Immediately, the fire comes to life, and the camp is warm.
That is how things are with Christian fellowship. The fire burns brightest when it is not left alone. So get a new outlook, and gaze upon our majestic God today. By letting Him carry you, you will find new freedom and peace, as well as the confidence of knowing that He can do all things.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6498. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.