Have you ever been a guest to someone? Perhaps you stayed in someone’s home for a short period and were a “house guest.” Maybe someone invited you to their home for dinner so you were a “dinner guest.” Being a guest means you are spending a brief period somewhere different, a place or an occasion that is not your own. When you go to another person’s home for dinner, do you tell them what they need to serve? Do you criticize the way they set the table? When you stay as a house guest visiting someone, do you rearrange their furniture? Do you call up the cable company and change the cable subscription?
Considering these questions probably resulted in some laughs. Most people would never think of doing these things, because you know you are a guest. You know that you are only temporarily spending time there. You know it’s not your home; it’s not your place to change the way things run.
Now consider being God’s guest. Do you know that you are God’s guest? Yes, God’s guest. God created us and we are only here a short time. Verse 5 says, “You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to You; at best, each of us is but a breath” (NLT). Yes, life is but a breath. James wrote, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (4:14 NLT). As God’s guest, do you act like a guest? Do you realize you are “a traveler passing through” this place? Do you thank your gracious Host? Or have you become a rude guest who has decided you will hunker down and change the order of things?
“Hear my prayer, O LORD! Listen to my cries for help! Don’t ignore my tears. For I am Your guest–a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me.” – Psalm 39:12 [NLT]
Tonight I had some tomato soup for dinner. It was upsetting to find no saltine crackers after I already prepared the soup. It just wasn’t the same. It didn’t take me long to grumble because there were no crackers, and then remember that I am blessed to have the bowl of soup.
We often forget how blessed we are by God. He gives us so much. We take it for granted. In Romans 11, we read the question, “Who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid?” This basically says we can never out give God. He gives in abundance. He blesses us greatly. Everything comes from God and if we grasp that, we will live with a heart of gratitude and not cling to the things of this earth.
The Sabbath is a special gift to us. We need to remember it’s not just about taking a rest. The Sabbath is so much more. It’s about remembering where everything comes from— GOD. The people were to collect for six days and rest the seventh. In doing so, they were trusting in the provision of God. The people were trusting that God will give them all they need. They recognize everything is from Him.
I love to celebrate the Sabbath. It helps to keep me focused. It helps to keep me thankful. Today, remember “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.” Remember that God is the great provider. Trust Him to meet your needs. Rest knowing that He is faithful.
“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” – Psalm 24:1 [NLT]
“Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” – Romans 11:35-36 [HCSB]
If our joy rests on our circumstances, we do not have true joy. If your joy rests on things going the way we want, you do not have true joy. If joy rests on what you have and who you are with, this is not true joy. Circumstances change. Things don’t always go the way you want. We will not always have the same constant people in our lives. The things we have are temporary—they break, they are lost, their value is temporal.
In Habakkuk 3, we read about things not going well. The fig trees, vines, and fields aren’t producing. The livestock is not productive either. This is a big problem. No food. No money. Circumstances aren’t good at all. Even so, we read, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
How can there be joy? How can he take joy? The reason for joy is for knowing God—for trusting Him. When we rest in Him, when we know Him – truly know Him (requires a relationship)—then we can take joy in Him too. No matter what is going on today, take joy in Him. As John 16:22 says, the joy we have in Him, in our salvation, no one can take away.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18 [ESV]
Does God ever give you more than you can handle? That is something people debate often. Many times I hear that God will never give you more than you can handle. This is often said when we are going through something tough in life like a loss of loved one, a painful illness, or an employment layoff. As we suffer and look to friends with our tear-stained faces, we hear the somewhat comforting words, “God never gives us more than we can handle. You’ll get through this.”
When I hear these words, I consider 2 Corinthians 1:8, where it says that the people were “crushed and overwhelmed beyond… ability to endure.” They were suffering. They believed they would not live through it. I consider Job, who lost it all—family, financial resources, health. Could you handle this? Would this be more than you could handle? I know some were not able to make it through. I know some who could not take it anymore. Why do we think we should be able to face all of this, that we can handle anything thrown our way? It is not that easy. We shortchange ourselves believing it is that easy. Instead, cling to the Father.
The Bible does not say that God will not give you more than you can handle. The truth is this world is a dark place and you may find yourself drowning and unable to cope. What the Bible does says is that God “will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.” In 1 Corinthians, it says that God “will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” This is talking about temptation, not about pain and suffering. This is saying that when we are tempted, there’s always a way to not succumb to the temptation. We saw this demonstrated. While Jesus was in the Wilderness, He responded with the Word of God when faced with each temptation.
Today, you may be facing something very difficult. You may not think you can make it through it. Whether it is too much to handle or just getting the best of you, know that you have a Heavenly Father Who is the Comforter. Cling to Him. Remind yourself of His promises. Surround yourself with those strong in the faith and be in continuous prayer. This great burden is temporary my friends.
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” – 2 Corinthians 1:8 [NLT]
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 [ESV]
Whenever I get to the pet store, I like to get a special treat for both of the pups. Today I decided I would get both of the dogs a large bone that I previously got for Max in the past. I always hesitated getting one for Marci because she is so small. It turned out that when I got Max one, Marci would take it and drag it all over the living room enjoying some chew time.
I quickly found out that when there are two bones, the dynamics change. All the sudden Marci, who was blessed to have this large bone for the first time, became a bit greedy. When she saw Max move away to lay down in one of his favorite spots, she took his bone and pulled it over to her bone. In doing so, she left him know that the bones were now both hers. Oddly enough, Max is insecure and Marci often gets the best of him. We found ourselves having to give Max his bone back and tell Marci to mind her manners.
The Bible speaks often of the sin of greed. John the Baptist said if you have two shirts, give one away. If you have food, share with those who are hungry. Abraham was blessed to be a blessing and so are we. We have a choice. We can choose to follow the teaching of the world, which points us to building castles here on earth and practice habits of greed. We can choose to live a life of generosity. When we open our hands, ceasing the ever-so-tight grip on the possessions of this world, we find that our open hands receive greater blessings and it is a pure joy to share as the Spirit leads. Bless someone today!
“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.’” – Luke 3:11 [NLT]