VIDEO “The Crib Was Upended” – Can You Trust God’s Timing?

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

In an article in Australia’s Christian Today, Steven Huang described losing his job last year. “It was a moment that turned me upside-down,” he said. “The crib was upended and I came tumbling out.” 

After the initial shock, Steven realized this was an opportunity to put Christian faith into action. “I had no choice but to trust God,” he said. “Which was surely what God was trying to tell me all along.” Steven found comfort in Scripture, especially in Ecclesiastes 3, which reassured him that God has an appointed time for everything in our lives. Shortly afterward, Steven found a job that captured his heart, working for a Christian ministry.1

Faith is the foundation of our relationship with our Father, and with it we can conquer anything. God has an appointed time for every aspect of His will for us. On those occasions when we feel like a child tumbling from the crib, how wonderful to know we have no other choice but to trust Him. Beneath us are the everlasting arms.

I can see God working through the heartache, and I have learned many lessons from what I experienced. He needed to get my attention to show me where I needed to be. Steven Huang


Can You Trust God’s Timing? | Steven Furtick

Our Father’s Care

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. Matthew 10:29

Thwack! I looked up and craned my ear toward the sound. Spotting a smudge on the windowpane, I peered out onto the deck and discovered the still-beating body of a bird. My heart hurt. I longed to help the fragile feathered being.

In Matthew 10, Jesus described His Father’s care for sparrows in order to comfort the disciples as He warned of upcoming dangers. He offered instructions to the twelve as He “gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” (v. 1). While the power to do such deeds might have seemed grand to the disciples, many would oppose them, including governing authorities, their own families, and the ensnaring grip of the evil one (vv. 16–28).

Then in 10:29–31, Jesus told them not to fear whatever they faced because they would never be out of their Father’s care. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” He asked. “Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . . So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

I checked on the bird throughout the day, each time finding it alive but unmoved. Then, late into the evening, it was gone. I prayed it had survived. Surely, if I cared this much about the bird, God cared even more. Imagine how much He cares for you and me!

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

How have you seen God care for you in the past? How can you gain courage for all you face by understanding that you’re never outside your Father’s care?

Dear Father, thank You for always watching over and caring for me.

Moments of Weakness

2 Samuel 11:1-5

Temptations can come at any time, but they are especially dangerous in periods of weakness because that’s when we’re more prone to yield. The Scriptures are filled with descriptions of men and women who sinned against the Lord in moments of vulnerability. These true stories are given to us for our instruction so we can learn from the mistakes of others (1 Corinthians 10:11). 

While temptations come in a variety of forms, they follow a similar pattern. David’s sin is a good example of this. His eye looked, his mind desired, and his will acted. Resistance is difficult in the best of times, but it’s even more of a struggle during periods of anger, emptiness, idleness, or isolation—and that was the case for David, who should have been in battle instead of in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 11:1). At the end of the day, no matter what’s creating the vulnerability, each person is responsible for his or her own actions.

In times of weakness, remember the acronym “HALT.” Don’t let yourself become too hungryangrylonely, or tired. Most importantly, fix your attention on the Lord and draw strength from Him through prayer. Use Scripture to guard your mind, and the Lord will give you victory over temptation.

Jesus Christ Is Lord

“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11)

Throughout the New Testament, we find there are three names in primary usage for the Son of God: Jesus, Christ, and Lord. The name Jesus, meaning “Jehovah is the Savior,” is His human name, linking Him with humanity whom He came to save. Christ, meaning “anointed,” is His Messianic name, linking Him with the prophecy that He came to fulfill. The New Testament equivalent to the Hebrew word Jehovah is the word “Lord,” linking Him with deity whom He came to represent and reveal, and to whom is due homage.

These three names have a chronological emphasis, for until His crucifixion He was known primarily as “Jesus,” but after His resurrection and ascension He was preeminent as “Christ.” When He returns, it will be as “Lord” to reign. To be sure, there is overlap, for He is simultaneously all three and has been throughout history. But the general pattern is clear.

The three names also indicate His threefold office and work. “Jesus” suggests His career as a prophet, teaching men the truth, while “Christ” suggests His priesthood, atoning for sin, and “Lord” His Kingship, ruling over men. Mankind’s relationship and responsibility to Him follow this same pattern: obedience to Him as prophet, faith in Him as priest, surrender to Him as King.

There is no effort on the part of the Scripture writers to separate these names into different individuals, for on many if not most occasions two or three of the names are combined, showing that these three names reference one and the same person. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). JDM

Lord of the Sabbath

Mark 2:23-3:12

THREE of the Gospels (Matt. 12:1-14; Mark 2:23-3:12; Luke 6:1-11) record our Lord’s Sabbath-day experience in the barley fields, His conflict with the Pharisees on that point, and the healing of the withered hand. He and His disciples did not violate the Law in eating the grain, for it was expressly permitted in Deuteronomy 23:25, but they simply violated Jewish tradition imposed by the scribes and Pharisees.

Our Lord gave an unanswerable five-fold argument for His attitude toward the Sabbath. He cited the case of David and the shewbread, the fact that the priests were busy on the Sabbath, the reference in Hosea about God desiring mercy rather than sacrifice, the fact that the Sabbath was made for man rather than man for the Sabbath, and then, the climax of all, that He Himself was Lord of the Sabbath. There are those today who overlook the fact that the Sabbath was done away with in Christ, along with all Jewish ordinances. We observe the Lord’s Day not because of any definite New Testament command but because it was the day of our Lord’s resurrection, the meeting-day of the early Church, and because it meets the principle of one day of rest in seven. We are not to judge one another, however, in regard to days (Col. 2:16) unless false doctrine arises which would revert to legalism instead of the principle of grace. For Sunday is not a “Christian Sabbath.” The Sabbath was never changed but it was abolished, and we are not under law.

After His break with the Pharisees our Lord went into their synagogue—”their” synagogue, mind you—and healed the man with the withered hand. Mark tells us that He looked on His accusers with anger. He had nothing but anger for that religiousness which put a custom above human need. We talk much of the meek and lowly Jesus, but there were other aspects to His character. We need to recover His hatred of sin—His condemnation of whatever stood in the way of the will of God and the good of others.

The healing of the withered hand, far from bringing joy to those who witnessed it, only fanned the flames of opposition. What a depravity that can make of such a blessing an incentive to murder! But that is exactly what occurred here, for our Lord’s enemies took counsel how they might destroy Him. No wonder that it should be the unpardonable sin when men can become so impervious to good as that!

Jesus withdrew to the sea, followed by multitudes whom He healed. Matthew here shows the fulfillment of Isaiah 42:1-4 in our Lord, God’s chosen Servant, in whom He is well pleased; upon whom is His Spirit—showing mercy to the Gentiles, not striving nor crying. His voice was not heard in the streets. He turned meekly from Israel, arrayed against Him, because the time for judgment had not yet come. He will not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax until His Second Advent. Meanwhile, the Gentiles in this present age trust in Him.

Not Just a “Father”

Holy Father, protect them by Your name.—John 17:11

John Calvin said: “That God’s name should be hallowed is to say that God should have His own honor of which He is so worthy, so that men should never think or speak of Him without the greatest veneration.”

One of the things that saddens me about the contemporary Christian church is the way that some believers refer to the Almighty in terms that drag Him down to a “good buddy” relationship. They refer to the great God of creation as “The Man Upstairs” or “My Partner in the Sky.” When people talk about God in such low-level terms, they do Him an injustice. And it’s not so much the terms but the image of God that lies behind those terms which is the real problem.

We must, of course, strike a balanced note on this issue, for Paul himself teaches us that the Holy Spirit in our hearts prompts us to call God not merely “Father,” but “Daddy” (Rm 8:15). Too much of the “Daddy,” however, can lead us, if we are not careful, into sloppy sentimentalism. I believe this is why, after the phrase “Our Father,” Jesus introduces us to another aspect of God—hallowed, holy, reverenced be His Name. It is right that we think of God in familiar terms such as “Daddy,” but it is right also that we remember that our heavenly Father is a God of majestic holiness and unsullied purity. A. W. Tozer was right when he said, “No religion has been greater than its idea of God.” Jesus put it into proper focus when He addressed God, not only as Father, but Holy Father.

Prayer

My Father and my God, help me gain a healthy and balanced view of Your person, so that while I enjoy the familiarity of Your Fatherhood, I am exceedingly conscious also of Your holiness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Heb 12:1-14; Ex 15:11; 1Sm 6:20; Isa 6:3; Rv 15:4

Where are we to look?

How do we become holy?

The Answer Before the Call

Matthew 6:8

Dr. Ted Gabrielsen and his wife Jeannie were working at a small hospital in

Korea. Among their many problems was an acute shortage of medical supplies. They prayed a great deal and often received practical help from Canada, Britain, Australia and the USA.

Dr. Gabrielson, now a surgeon in the USA, takes up the story. “I was suffering from staph infections which had run rampant in our family during our first year in Korea. During that period of time we had not established any reasonable supply lines for the hospital and were using local fat-based soaps. I had contracted recurrent boils. When one began to reside in the long finger of my left hand it swelled to three times its normal size. As a surgeon the prospects of an infected finger that was not coming under control despite available antibiotics was daunting.”

At the time Dial soap was manufactured with hexachloraphene, which was subsequently removed from the general market in the United States because it was found to cause problems in children or infants when they were bathed with it. However, hexachloraphene was an effective germicidal agent that was mixed with soap to lower bacterial counts on people’s skin.

Dr. Gabrielsen telephoned his brother-in-law, Paul Rader, then in Seoul, and asked if he had access to any Dial soap in order that he could institute the same type of measures he had practiced previously. The then Captain Rader knew of no source for the soap in Korea. However, in the course of conversation, Rader indicated that a package had arrived in Seoul for him. Gabrielsen asked him to look to see what it contained as he did not recognize the name of the sender. When it was opened, it was a large box of Dial soap!

Dr. Gabrielsen reflects: “Before you call, I will answer” (Isaiah 65:24) is the important lesson here. In order for that box to be in Korea someone had to send it at least six to eight weeks ahead of time. So, the Lord had spoken to someone’s heart to send that long before we knew we needed it, and the infection was brought under control.”

“For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).

Wesley Harris, Truth Stranger Than Fiction