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Friday, June 3, 2016

Shhh...Top Secret Message for You!

Did the title of this post catch your eye? Well, guess what. God really does have a top secret message for you. It’s something extremely personal, for your ears alone.

To directly quote Jesus about this: “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it” (Rev. 2:17, NKJV).

Hmmm…the intrigue! I want my secret stone from Jesus, how about you??

What is it about the word “secret” that immediately draws our attention? I’m thinking it has something about the way we were created. You and I were born for mystery, for exploration and adventure. Have you ever watched the wonder in a little baby’s eyes as she experiences brand new sights and sounds? Have you soaked up the absolute thrill in her face when she discovers what she can do with those ten marvelous wiggly things attached at the end of her arms? From day one on Planet Earth, an infant naturally displays our creation design. God never meant for our lives to run out of the awe of discovery that these little ones show forth so exuberantly.

In this Scripture from Revelation, Jesus is beckoning us deeper into His mysteries -- into discovering Him. Into finding out what “hidden manna to eat” looks, smells, and tastes like. I have been sharing a lot about manna in recent posts. We’ve been meditating together on Jesus, our Living Manna. On what it means to feed on Him. Here, the Holy Spirit holds out a closely related promise to us through John the Revelator. As we overcome, as we push through to victory, this secret, hidden manna is the reward waiting for us on the other side.

What is hidden about this manna? The word hidden infers that it is invisible to most eyes. This manna is exclusive. It is only for the one willing to pay the price to overcome. Jesus explained to His disciples, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them [not to the multitudes gathered to listen]” (Matt 13:11, NIV). There is that word again – secrets. Along with the nuance of exclusivity – “given to you, but not to them.” The disciples got to hear the secrets because they stuck around the extra hours to listen when everyone else had gone home.

Jesus has a secret club. The members of His club are the ones who have the privilege of leaning on His chest and listening to His heartbeat. They get to eat the hidden manna behind His closed doors. They get to delight in the richest of fare. “Whosoever will” (Rev. 22:17) is invited into this elite membership. Whoever wishes! However, though many are called, few are chosen. As my youth pastor taught us so many years ago, you have to choose the choosing! Sadly, though, so often, when the invite arrives at our door, we have more “urgent” things to take care of.

At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He sat down to dinner with the ones who had done life with Him for three years. He poured out His heart to them as they communed together. “I have earnestly and intensely desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,¹” He expressed to them in passionate sincerity, pausing to look around the table into each of their eyes. There was so much meaning in His penetrating look. He held each of them in it, pouring His love and gratitude into their individual souls through His gaze. He was consumed with desire for them to know how much it meant to Him that they had laid down their very selves to follow Him unquestioningly, leaving their previous lives behind them. They had eaten together, traveled together, worked together, cried together, laughed together, sung together, prayed together, ministered together, poured out their very last ounce of strength together, and then gotten up the next day to do it again, and again, and again. He held every single minute of the adventure together in His heart as an unspeakable treasure.

“You are My friends,²” He told them, both with His eyes, and with His words spoken in tones that ushered from His deepest heart. Not just servants any more. Friends. Intimate companions. Could any word to them have been more sweet?

In that moment, He gave them a key insight that would be with them for the rest of their lives. “A servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15, NKJV, italics mine). These men had so grown in intimacy with Jesus that He no longer held anything at all back from them. His secrets were theirs. They had stuck with Him. They had not turned away when the multitudes did in disgust at His suggestion that they eat His flesh and drink His blood. There were a million other opportunities along the way to give up too, and instead they had persevered. They had overcome. The hidden manna was theirs for the taking.

The disciples had learned to walk with Jesus. They had learned to push through the rough spots and stick closely by His side. They had become His true friends. He invites us to do the same. He wants to give us hidden manna too.

There’s something about this manna. We all need it. Just as the Israelites literally could not survive without eating it in the wilderness, we cannot survive spiritually without this provision. It’s the most important part of what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Manna is life. It is sustenance. It is strength for the journey. The ironic thing is that so many are trying to carry on without it. Traveling ever on spiritual fumes. They’ll have a few bites of heavenly bread on Sunday and hope it last them for the week. Have you ever hoped that one lunch or dinner meal would keep you for seven days? Dear one, feed yourself!

“He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna…that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut 8:3, NKJV). Manna then becomes a symbol of words that come out of God’s mouth, and go directly to your heart. Manna is revelation. Manna is God sharing His heart with you.

A closing thought. This symbol of God’s provision was so sacred to Him that He ordered for some of it to be kept perpetually in the Ark of The Covenant. Central to His covenant with us is our Daily Bread. His provision of fresh rhema every single day of our lives. Fresh manna every morning. Fresh bread right out of Heaven’s oven for breakfast – can you smell its aroma? Before you rush onto the next urgent thing, get alone with Daddy God today and let Him feed you this hidden manna! It’s time to feast!

"Poppa God, You are my Provider! You don’t want me barely surviving, living on fumes. You long to give me more than enough each day to nourish and care for my spirit. You want to feed me a fresh revelation of Your heart, even in these moments. Please give me my daily bread today as I draw close to You. I snuggle into Your arms right now. I’m putting my head on Your chest to listen to Your heartbeat. How strong and loving is its rhythm! I know there is so much more of You for me to get to know. So much more You want to show me. Take me deeper into Your mysteries. I want to hear Your secrets. I want to be Your friend…”

¹Luke 22:15, AMP

²John 15:14-15

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