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Posts Tagged ‘manna’

secret gardenNever just enough for our western culture; we accumulate more and more, whether it is “just in case” or simply because we can. Slowly, movements are rising to counter this addictive behavior, but the change is slow. I am no stranger to largess and its grip on my choices, to my shame. But I’m getting better.

The Israelites did as they were told [by Moses]; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer [2 quarts], the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. [Exodus 16:17b-20a, NIV]

I sometimes make fun of my “crunchy” friends [urban dictionary: used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons], but really, I admire their tenacity. More appropriately, it should be Christians and other believers who lead the crusade for saving our planet from abuse, living simply, and letting go of an “over-abundant” mentality. Throughout scripture, God is shown to meet the needs of the people, if only we would trust.

Slowly, not necessarily by election, but by the circumstances of my losses, I am faced with releasing the amassed detritus of my life. I must choose to sift and consider what is enough. Oh, I know all the cliches of downsizing and that sounds so healthy and smart until it’s “you” who is doing it, sooner than later. But I think I’ve been missing the real lesson here. I have been choosing what to “let go,” when I should be examining what is just enough.

God is about just enough.

Back in the early nineties, a revival of sorts stormed Toronto at their “Airport Vineyard” and among the many phenomenon that manifested during that time, the people would wave and bask in the “spirit” and call out for “more.” Of course, it was the “more of you Lord” that was driving those prayers, but I want to start something else: give me what I need and teach me to embrace and flourish within the hedges of God’s endowment. No more is needed.

It is the secret garden of God.

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Who is that devil? Who likes to talk about the “devil,” “Satan” or evil? Culture has morphed the devil into a red-horned little man with a pitch fork at Halloween, or a dark looming evil suction machine ready to drag me into Hell, or the scapegoat for everything wrong with us.

I Peter 5:8
Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
[Amplified]

In Peter’s voice, the evil entity takes on a very personal nature: that “enemy of yours.” It’s a specific adversary who is lurking around my world, ready to take advantage of some negligence or self-indulgence, ready to ruin a situation, break apart a plan, or discourage a goal.

The NIV translation is simple, “be self-controlled and alert.” Therefore, in the face of Peter’s recommendations, it means behavior that is out of control, intemperate, or incautious, will be a set up for a fall, a slippery slide at the water park. Interestingly enough, I think these moments of imbalance are specific to each person. They are my battles and my particular challenges. “My” enemy may not be your enemy. My indulgences may not be yours. That means, the other guy or gal over there, may have equally unique hazards or threats that may not look all that difficult to me.

I believe this “personal enemy” works from the inside out, just like everything else. Oh, there may be some global enemy who hates the Earth, let’s say, and brings on tsunami’s and famines. Why not? But right now, I’m considering how this enemy of mine gets a foothold inside me.

It doesn’t take long to figure this out. There are several easy “ins” for that enemy of mine such as my issues of food, weight, exercise, and discipline. Or what about those procrastinations that expand from a few minutes to days, weeks, or even months? And in relationships, what about consistency and honesty? I can see how an imbalance in any of these spheres play heavily on my sense of worth and well-being, my trust in God.

So often the imbalance is not just in “not” doing, it’s also in doing too much. Perfectionism and performance-based choices are equally distracting. I’m like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between the two and that enemy of mine swings right along with me.

And so, I ask myself, how do I achieve true balance? How can I be vigilant without being controlling? How can I be cautious and yet be a risk-taker? How can I find the “de-militarized zone” where there is no condemnation and no fear?

Time away. Prayer. Forgiveness. Each day: manna.

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Photo by P Dorowski

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m pretty clear that my wisdom quotient (WQ) is way below my IQ. Doesn’t everyone need more wisdom? Is there such a thing as too wise? Don’t think so.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

So, why don’t I ask for wisdom every day? There are so many things I put before my God: guidance, help, protection, transformation, and so on. But I don’t specifically ask for wisdom. Wouldn’t that particular answered prayer help with all the other ones? Doh!

Based on James, God doesn’t find fault or hold back wisdom in the face of our mistakes. God doesn’t say, “No wisdom for you today, you’ve made too many mistakes.” There’s a lot of grace, then, in the gift of wisdom. It’s a helper, just like Eve was intended to be in the first story about men and women.

I’ve often wondered if Solomon was disappointed with his gift of wisdom and simply stopped using it? I mean, how else does a person go from doing everything right to accumulating so many women (700 wives & 300 concubines) and so much stuff that he finally tears the kingdom in two by the time of his death. Clearly, his WQ hit rock bottom by then.

I’m wondering today, is wisdom a like Manna? Does it have to be refreshed each day, given each day anew, or it becomes corrupt if someone tries to hold on to it beyond the time, the moment, the day?

I could really use some wisdom just to get through this night. And tomorrow, I think I’ll check in on the wisdom handout again. Thank you God.

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John 6:41
At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”

The Jews of that time understood this image and didn’t like it because Jesus referred to himself metaphorically as manna [Exodus 16]. While the Jews wandered in the desert, manna appeared each morning with the dew and was only enough for that one day (except on Friday when enough was collected and lasted 2 days over the Sabbath). The message is a simple one for us then: we are to eat the Bread of Heaven daily. We are to participate and partake of Him daily.

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus is recorded as saying “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Each day is different and each day has different challenges.

It makes me want to return to a more Catholic tradition of communion each day. I can see the power of that imagery. I can feel the power of that act.

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