Parenthetically Speaking

Parenthetically Speaking

The Hidden Manna…

February 3, 2014

 

manna

Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Sprit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.

I have no idea what this means. But I am asking.  I am wrestling.  I am researching.  I am studying.  I am praying.

How about joining me for a few moments as I externally process?!

Context-John is receiving a revelation.  The first part of the revelation includes 7 letters to 7 churches.  There are a couple commonalities found in these letters.

  1. There is a charge- of who has an ear, let him hear. LISTEN
  2. There is a call for response- overcome. DO
  3. There is a promise-RECEIVE

So to the church of Pergamum, there is praise and correction.  There seems to be some inclusion of those who are following false teachings and thus have actions that are not acceptable, eating food sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality, both of which are in response to demands of the flesh-satisfy me!

And then the charge-LISTEN

And then the call for response-OVERCOME

And then the promise- I will give some of the hidden manna.  (There’s more promise, but my heart is stuck here).

 

Hidden manna

Hidden-not seen or known. Mystery, intrigue, and value.  After all we only hide things of value, correct.  Even when people hide bad things, it is to protect what is of value to all-reputation.  So this manna has value and is reserved for those who listen and overcome.

Manna-Exodus 16:31 is the first mention of Manna.  A food DAILY provided for the Israelites post exodus from Egypt.  It was what physically sustained them, for 40 years!  The manna that fell from the heavens was gathered in the morning for the day and the rest melted away.  Any stored rotted, except on day 6.  On that day the people were instructed to gather double the amount and save ½ for the next day, the Sabbath.

Daily Provision

Manna-Deuteronomy 8:16 He gave you manna to eat in the dessert something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.

Daily Dependence

Manna John 6:48, 49 I am the bread of Life. Your forefathers at the manna in the desert yet they died.

 Everlasting Provision

Manna Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Sprit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.

Abundant Provision?

Could it be that He is referring to abundance?   I hide things of great value.  I don’t hide my daily necessities.  I tuck away things that are hard to replace, heirlooms, expensive items.  Things I do not want to land in the hands of one who comes to steal, destroy.

What is this hidden manna?  I am stuck on this.  And while I know this is part of the revelation to John concerning the end of time, I am certain that there is something for me today in this word!  So I continue to press on and press in to understand.

Care to join me?

Read all of Revelation 2 (several times)

What kinds of things do you hide?  What do you see daily provided for you (Daily Manna)

What needs in your world do you need to surrender and allow daily dependence to be the provider? (Daily Dependence).

Ask, seek, the hidden manna.

Parenthetically Speaking

Time to Move…

January 31, 2014

moving (1)

Hebrews 11:13 

All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. 

Ever moved?  Houses? States? Countries?

Sometimes it is our choice.  Sometimes it’s not.   But regardless of circumstances moving will bring change, some level of chaos and occasional conflicting emotions.

When we moved from Kansas City to Northwest Arkansas, it was our choice, well in part.  And it meant change, a lot of change.  24 years ago this area was small town USA.  No second floor at the mall, very few chain restaurants, only one public pool, and for an urban girl I thought I had hit the end of the earth.  And the chaos, oh my.  Things in storage a rental house with all wood floors except in the kitchen, which had carpet and a leaky dishwasher, quite the combo.  A husband that use to be home at 4:30, now traveling 40 weeks a year.  Yes 40 weeks a year.

Conflicting emotions abounded.  We pulled into our rental house driveway at 1:00 am Christmas eve, a van packed to the roof.  A 3 yr. old, a 20 month old, a 50 lb. lab, and a third baby due in a month!

We were excited to start this new life in a new place at a new company but oh so sad to have left our families, friends and the familiar.

We had change…We had chaos…We had conflicting emotions on a minute by minute basis!

Moving is change, moving is chaotic, moving is conflicting emotionally.

God is never surprised by moving. In fact He’s been in the business of moving people since the Garden!

Here is what I have found to be true…

The faithfulness of God cannot be viewed through the lens of circumstances.  In the midst of a move we must view God through the lens of His promises, His word.   And through the lens of remembrance.   Remembering what He has done thus far. 

 

The first move, Adam and Eve get evicted, downsized.  Sin made it impossible for them to live in the Garden any longer.  And of course our final move will be back to the place our sin keeps us from, paradise. They were evicted and yet God promised to provide, and He did, even clothing that was once unnecessary.  And that clothing came with blood shed. The shed blood of the animal that lost its life to provide for man.  God was faithful even in the detail of clothing.  He would be there in the future.  God knew them, and they knew Him.

Adam and Eve remembered God was faithful in the past and He promised a future.

Noah was moved, quite moved by loads of rain and water. Moved to dry ground with no neighbors.  Now that’s change, I guarantee there was chaos on that ark.  And I cannot imagine the emotions of waiting, waiting, waiting for the waiting to stop so life could start anew.  But God promised to save his family, and God had been faithful in the past.  After all, God told Noah to build this outrageous boat, and fill it with animals for the rains were acoming!

Noah remembered God was faithful in the past and He promised a future.

Abram, well he even got a name change in the move.  Abraham and Sarah (Sari) were instructed to LEAVE their country, their people, their households, with no destination named.  Now that move certainly had change in it.  And a move with no disclosed destination had to be chaotic at times.  And we all know the conflicting emotions that happened along the way.

Abraham remembered God had been faithful in the past, and He promised a future.   

What about Joseph?  Joseph’s moves wrote the book on change, chaos, and conflicting emotions.  From the favored son, to a hole in the ground,  to the selling block, to a high servant, to jail, to dream reader,  to more jail, to the one who rescued the land of Egypt and his Father’s household from famine.

Joseph remembered God had been faithful in the past, and He promised a future.  

Moses, ahh Moses.  Well his first move happened at the ripe age of 3 months.  From reed basket, to the palace.  Then to a dessert as a shepherd.  And then the call, a burning bush, telling Moses to move.  Move to a position of deliverer, rescuer.  Well Moses did some fancy debating, but eventually led the people out of Egypt, out of bondage.  There was change for Moses and the people.  There was great chaos, those Israelites just couldn’t remember God’s faithfulness and built themselves a calf.

After 40 years of wandering, their children’s children made it to the promise land under the Leadership of Joshua.  Now that final move, the crossing of the Jordon brought more change, chaos, and conflicting emotions too.

Moses and Joshua remembered the faithfulness of God, and His promise of a future.  And they reminded the people! 

Hebrews 11, the Faith Chapter, the cliff notes to the Old Testament, says this.

Hebrews 11:13 

All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. 

Not one of them saw the birth death and resurrection of our King, Messiah, Rabbi, Jesus.  They remembered the faithfulness of God in their lives and they believed in the promise of a future, a savior that would save them!

You and I have a promise too.  A promise that our King is coming back!  He is coming back one day!

Until then, hands open, palms up, and move when He says to move.  Go where He goes, stay where He stays.

Parenthetically Speaking

Choose the New….

January 29, 2014

 

 

new

Consumer behavior fascinates me!   I fell in love with this concept my sophomore year in college under the direction of Richard P Coleman and his class, Consumer Behavior.   Why do people respond to certain ads, sales, colors, packaging…?

Have you ever noticed how the word new intrigues you?  A new house, a new car, a new baby, a new job, a new pair of boots. I am crazy about new, well most of the time.

Sometimes new is hard, new replaces the old and I am not always ready to get rid of the old.  I had a fantastic pair of black Born boots, loved them!  But it was time for new boots, the old were fine for weekend fun, but not for the office.  So I bought a new pair of black Born boots and gave my old ones to my daughter.  Guess what?   I don’t like the new ones as much as the old ones.  I like the old better.

2 Corinthians 5:17 is the very first verse I ever memorized nearly 30 years ago.

The old is gone the new has come.

Can the new really come if the old is not yet gone?

Is it an immediate exchange, or is it gradual?

My new body sure is taking its sweet time to come.  I am eating new, exercising new, but the exchange is gradual. The old is going and the new is coming, but it sure is taking a long time for the exchange and it requires a lot of choices (AKA sacrifices).

Sometimes the new comes quickly.  A new season can come quite quickly, and sometimes at a startling onset.

With an ‘I do’ you quickly move from single to married, from celibacy to not celibacy.

One final breath can move a family to a sudden new season, widowhood, childlessness…

When it comes to 2 Corinthians 5:17, I wish the ‘old is gone’ would be involuntary.

Poof, you are all new.

But instead it is a choice (and choices). Jesus, the Christ has provided a way for the old to be gone (redemption), but I must choose to receive.   And then I am faced with daily, hourly, minute by minute choices to say no to the old and yes to the new. Therein lays the rub!

Sometimes I like the old better than the new… I do, just being honest.  Sometimes I would like to just eat a whole pan of brownies (freedom from gluttony is mine for the choosing).  Sometime I would like to charge up some new clothes (freedom from gluttony is mine for the choosing).  Sometimes I would just like to gossip about someone (freedom from slander is mine for the choosing).  Sometimes I would just like it to be all about me freedom form idolatry is mine for the choosing).

Of course if I choose the new way, I am free.  So why do I choose the trappings (bondage if we are being honest), of this world instead of the new …FREEDOM.

That my lovelies, is the age old question that even our dear Paul wrestled over.

I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  Romans 7:15

 

Do a quick inventory…

What of the old self do I like best? (You have to be honest with yourself)

How can I keep from returning to the old ways?

Who can help me with accountability?

What scripture can help me battle the old?

What is the new that can come in its place?

What will you chose today?  Old or new??

It’s up to you!

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard  to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self ,created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

Parenthetically Speaking

At the End…

January 27, 2014

 

toilet paper

I constantly find myself at the end and thus obliged by social manners to refill.

It is uncanny how many times I enter a bathroom (at home, in public, at work) to find a roll with 6 or remaining squares.   Of course 6 squares  is not enough, (however  when I was  4 a cranky neighbor lady limited me to 3 squares, are you kidding me?  The ultimate in micro managing, ugh).  So when I find myself faced with 6 squares I am not only socially obliged to refill, I am desperate to a replacement roll.

I constantly find myself standing in front of the company water cooler as the bottle reaches its end.  Then I am socially obliged to lift a 25+ lb. bottle of water and place it on the receptacle.  I am certain that one day this will end in a disastrous situation where a coworker will find me flattened by said water bottle.

Growing up my last name began with a ‘W’ so I was always at the end.  To further exasperate this a last name that started with a ‘W’ was followed by an ‘R’; the only one behind me, Fran Zillner.

This is not just a physical occurrence.  I also find myself at the end of the line or the end of my proverbial rope on a frequent basis.

Come to think of it I live at the end of a culd-a-sac.  Okay enough already.

The END

What is in this for me to learn? Why am I always at the end of things, situations, and supplies?

Perhaps the true lesson is this; I desperately need to get to the end of myself.

It’s a lot harder to replace all the ME than a new roll of toilet paper, or a heavy water jug.

What does it mean to get to the end of oneself?  To say the end to self.  To say enough to self, to STOP with all the ME!

How in the world to do that is the question.

It’s always been about me.  Only child, gregarious personality, driven.  Ugh, my unique design seems to perfectly positioned to feed the ME monster.

Graciously I have been given several heaping doses of humility, but still the ME monster will not die once and for all.

I must rise daily and slay the ME monster. Oh how I tire of killing the Me monster.  Some days are easier but some days, that Me monster actually  resurrects itself…more than once!

The power, the persistence, the tenacity of ME monster  is unbelievable.  A constant battle, constant no, constant death to self.

I would be discouraged, but alas, I am a radical optimist.  I take heart, put to death the ME monster, start over and relish in the truth that His compassion never fails, and His mercies are new every morning.

(The word relish makes the ME monster long for a hotdog, STOP!!)

I understand and accept that ME monster is not going down without a fight.  But guess what, it is He that wins in the end!

Then the ME monster be gone forever!

Parenthetically Speaking

Mr. Wallace,93

October 11, 2013

 

newsboy-cap (1)

 

I went to a funeral last night and I was surprised. I was surprised by the tears that would not stop rolling down my face.  Why was I surprised, I mean come on, it the norm to cry at a funeral right?  Am I heartless? How can I be surprised by tears rolling down?

Because the tears were of conviction not sorrow.  Mr. Wallace, 93 went home and I was overjoyed for him; he was with his savoir, creator, and King.  No reason to weep over that good news!

Instead I wept in confession.

I always knew there was something remarkable about Mr. Wallace.

More than just the wide smile

a dapper demeanor complete with a newsboy hat, always

a  gentle spirit,

a customary kiss on my cheek,

Behind all the outward was a man who lived and loved sacrificially.

a man born into what is coined the greatest generation

a man all about service to his country, his family and above all his LORD.

a man who was head over heels in love with his wife of 67 years,

a man who wrote letters and cards reminding her of his devotion.

a man who continued to grow deeper in his relationship with his LORD, even penning a letter at age 50 about a renewed personal relationship brought about by the inspirational testimony of a group of students returning from a mission trip.

I could be inspired by his commitment to write letters, notes, and cards.

And I am.

I could be inspired to love, honor and appreciate my husband more.

And I am.

I could be overjoyed that Mr. Wallace is home, free from the pain of this world.

And I am.

I could have left feeling all good inside.

But instead…

I realized some uglies about myself and it brought the tears.

I get in the way.

When it comes to living and loving sacrificially, I get in the way.

When it comes to loving and honoring my spouse, I get in the way.

When it comes to taking time to write a letter, a note, or a card, I get in the way.

When it comes to growing deeper in relationship with my LORD, I get in the way.

Me and my insecurities, worldly desires, (okay let’s be honest lusts), self-protection, self-exaltation, blah, blah, blah.

Mr. Wallace was focused upward and outward.  He wasn’t published, well known, wealthy, noted, elected, sought after, followed on social media, in fact you don’t even know him.

He wasn’t famous, except…with the Famous One.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

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