About Tim Burt

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Tablecloth: An Inspirational Christmas Story

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

The brand new pastor and his wife were newly assigned to reopen this old and aged church. It was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard cleaning, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, and more. They were making wonderful progress when a terrible rainstorm hit the area. When the rain ended, the pastor's heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked and caused a very large area of plaster to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit. It would be visible to all. There wasn't time to fix it before the opening Christmas Eve service the next day. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor and with disappointment in his heart, headed home.

On his way home, he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, ornately stitched tablecloth with exquisite work and beautiful colors. The thought hit him. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time, it had started to snow. As he was approaching the church he noticed an older woman waiting for a bus. He knew there was no bus coming for 45 minutes and encouraged her to wait in the warm church.  She was grateful. She sat in a pew while he got out a ladder and some equipment to see if this beautiful tapestry could redeem the ugly hole in the wall. When he finished putting it up, he could hardly believe how beautiful it looked! And it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Reverend," she asked. "Where did you get that tapestry?"and immediately the woman requested that he check the lower right corner to see if the initials EBG were stitched into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman. She had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war, she and her husband lived in Austria. When the Nazis came in, her husband made her leave planning to follow her the next week. He never made it out of the country and was imprisoned. She was told he was dead and never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth, but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of the city and was only there for an appointment.

What a wonderful Christmas Eve service they had. Many from the neighborhood came out. The Christmas songs and hymns and the Pastor's words of the humble birth of the Christ child and the humble rebirth of the church, touched everyone's heart. The Christmas spirit was warm in the hearts of all.  At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife thanked each person at the door for attending and many said that they would return.

One older man, a man whom the pastor hired to do some painting and came to the service at the pastor's request, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare. The pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the hanging on the front wall because it was identical to a tablecloth that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war. "How could there be two so much alike?" He told the pastor how when the Nazis came, he forced his wife to flee the country for her safety. His plan was to follow her a week later, but he was arrested and put in a camp. He never saw his wife or his home again. The pastor asked if he would allow him to take him for a little ride as he answered his question about the tablecloth.

The Pastor and his wife, drove him and to the same house where he had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door, and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine. It was truly a Christmas miracle.

Joel 2:25-26 (ESV) "I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten..." "You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame."

Note to the readers: This story has taken on many versions - one of which I have posted for you today. The author is unknown although I've been told that the original author, who has passed away, is Reverend Howard Schade. 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Friday, December 15, 2017

When Trouble Comes and Things Unravel...

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

While recently spending time with someone who had lost a parent, it brought back such strong memories of the day I lost my dad. I thought I would share it with you! It's not depressing or sad, but to the contrary, one of the most wonderful days of my life.

It was a Thursday morning. I had an early morning doctors appointment that I thought would take a couple of hours. Instead it took about 15 minute and I was on my way out the door. As I was leaving, I had the thought, Call Dad and take him out to breakfast. My day was somewhat unscheduled because Renee and I had originally had a vacation planned for this week. We had to cancel it because she needed to meet her sister and brother in Atlanta to help make plans for her father’s future. He had some medical issues and they met to help him. Consequently, it left me with a week off that was unscheduled and alone at home. So… I called my dad and he was excited to go. I told him, I’ll be there in 15 minutes to pick you up.

My dad was 90 years old. He was in good health, swam three times a week, and played golf with my brother, myself and my brother-in-law most Thursday mornings. He was one of the happiest people you could ever meet and had a sense of humor that was hilarious. He was never without a story or something funny to say that made us all laugh. And... he was a father of ten children! He was a selfless, hard-working man who taught all his children how to love people and have a great work ethic! He and mom provided such a great life for us all.

I picked dad up and we went to a local restaurant, ate breakfast, and talked and laughed for almost three hours. Although it seemed like we talked about any and everything, there was one topic that was more dominant in his conversation than anything else. He talked about how thankful he was. I remember his words: It might appear that I don’t notice all that you children do or have done for me these past years. But, I’ve noticed everything and I couldn’t be more thankful. I have the most beautiful family of anyone I know. I love you all and appreciate so much what each of you have done to be a blessing to your mother and me. When she died a few years back, you all helped me through a difficult period of life. And you’ve been so supportive to love and be helpful to me. I thank God for all of you every day. He then told me that he prayed for each of us by name daily—all 9 living children, 21 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren—plus the couple babies in the hopper. (The family has grown much larger since then.) That touched my heart in a way that is greater than I can describe. For dad to be this reflective was unusual but amazing as his child, to listen to. What was behind this unusual mood he was in? When I brought him home he was happy, singing, and appearing to be on top of the world.

Later that evening about 9:30 pm I got a call from my sister. She told me that dad had collapsed, possibly had a heart attack and that I should come down to the hospital. Dad had lost consciousness, and never regained it. The family all met down at the hospital and we hugged and kissed him and cried as we said our goodbyes! After a few hours, he stopped breathing on earth and took his first breath in Heaven. This man was loved not just by his family, but by everyone!

After many tears, Renee and I could not help but reflect on how God had ordered our steps, graciously giving each of us special time with our father's before they passed to Heaven. It became the gift we would never forget.

We thanked God we did not try to fix or force our vacation. It was like we both had a sense that God was leading us as our vacation started to unravel. We prayed and bound the devil from trying to steal it from us, but then sensed it wasn't an attack, but a gift of God doing something... if we would just trust Him through it. She was at peace going to Atlanta. I was at peace staying home. I was even called and asked if I wanted a doctor's appointment cancelled by someone else. And that led to my special breakfast with dad! In hindsight, though we didn’t know what was going down, God knew every step. Psalms 37:23 (NLT) says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” As it turned out,  our vacation wasn't unraveling; God was leading us to be available to help our parents, and lead us every step of the way.

Trusting God can sometimes feel unnerving when something appears to be going wrong and you are not sure of the next step. But, if you trust Him and continue to pray, He will lead you step by step. And you will see the fruit of trusting in Him! We've lived these kinds of moments from God again and again. Each time, it has built a greater trust within us. Even when some things unravel because there is some kind of spiritual attack, we have prayed and simply asked the Lord to turn what the enemy meant for evil, for good! And He has! And we praise Him for it. So, when things appear to be unraveling in your life, don't panic. Don't despair. Pause, pray, and trust the Lord. He loves you and will walk you through every valley in your life!

Psalm 23:4 (NIV) " Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Copyright© 2017 All rights reserved

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Satan's Plan in the Last Day's Before Jesus' Return

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

When something goes wrong in your life, have you ever heard the thought creep up saying God brought this on me. or, God allowed this because of what I did. If you were to say No, I have never thought that, then you would be the only person I have ever met that didn’t.

If Satan is anything, he is a liar. He is an accuser. He is a deceiver. His goal is always to deceive you into thinking God is mad at you, against you, and doing things to hurt you. Let me show you this truth through scripture. Jesus while speaking of Satan says, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

Satan has a plan. It is to deceive as much of mankind concerning God and God’s nature as possible. His ultimate goal? To eventually deceive mankind into waging war against God. Until the very end of the last days, Satan is and will work in the earth to accomplish this task. You might think, How does he wage this war? He does it in this way. First he promotes false religion—anything outside of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Secondly, he promotes deception causing strife and division—getting people to hate each other. Thirdly, he promotes a literal war against God. You may ask, How can he promote a war against God whom we can’t see? He will do that by promoting a war against Israel. A war against Israel is a war against God.

In the last days, he will work to turn many of the nations against Israel and entice them to war surrounding Israel to destroy her. This is where Jesus will finally deal with Satan.

Satan will manifest himself through a person he possesses that scripture calls “the beast” also known as the anti-Christ, and through one called “the false prophet.” They will be two human beings that Satan possesses and uses to draw the kings or world leaders into a war against Israel. When that happens, Jesus will literally come on a white horse with His angelic hosts of Heaven and His saints and He will defeat “the beast” and the “false prophet”—casting them and Satan into the lake of fire and the bottomless pit.
We read this in Rev. 19:11-20 (NLT) “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the one sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True. For He judges fairly and then goes to war. His eyes were bright like flames of fire, and on His head were many crowns. A name was written on Him, and only He knew what it meant. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From His mouth came a sharp sword, and with it he struck down the nations. He ruled them with an iron rod, and He trod the winepress of the fierce wrath of almighty God. On His robe and thigh was written this title: King of kings and Lord of lords…Then I saw the beast gathering the kings of the earth and their armies in order to fight against the one sitting on the horse and His army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came out of the mouth of the one riding the white horse…”

Rev. 20:1-2 (NLT) “Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, the Devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years…”


Okay. You are probably wondering, why did I tell you all this? I told you all this to amplify that Satan is a deceiver. He is the deceiver of the earth. He is against you. Jesus is the truth, the life, and the way. He is for you. When something bad happens, Satan the deceiver will tell you, God is doing this to you because you blew it. It’s a lie. God loves you and is always working to draw you closer to Him and wants to help you in every area of your life. It takes our faith in this truth for that to happen. Jesus responds to faith!

Jesus already paid the price for your sin. It is His love that draws you. God’s will is to bless you. Your faith which draws His blessing will never be greater than your steadfast belief that God is for you! That is why it’s critical for you to know God is for you. It is in having that assurance of His love that leads you to run to Him and not from Him. That assurance destroys Satan’s lie that God has produced something bad in your life. When you believe in God’s unfailing love, then you will become one that believes and does this: Isaiah 63:7 NIV “I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.” You will because you will experience it first hand!

We are in the last days. Satan is out to confuse you, deceive you, steal from your life, and if possible destroy it. Avoid deception by living wholeheartedly for the Lord. And when you do blow it, God does want you to come and repent and turn from it. BUT, He is for you—not lobbing trouble and hardship at you! Know this and run to Him. Ask Him to help you and bless you! That is His will for your life! What will never change, even in these last days, is His love for you and desire to take you down His right path and bless you in the midst of a very deceived and confused world!

Psalms 23:5 (NLT) "You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings"

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net





If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2017 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Thriving, Not Breaking, Under Pressure!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

As I look over the broad spectrum of everyone I know—my family, my friends, and my large church family, I see in the majority of their lives, stresses, pressures and challenging circumstances facing them. These challenges range from financial situations to relational problems to infirmities and more. It seems as though most people have some type of stressful situation creating pressure, going on in their life.

Whenever we face challenges we face pressure. That pressure can make us feel like a tube of toothpaste being squeezed. When you squeeze a tube of toothpaste, toothpaste comes out. When you crack a nut with a nutcracker, the nut comes out. When pressure is put on us, what's inside of us comes out. That may be good or bad news!

Early on in my marriage with Renee, immaturity is what was in us. When pressure came, immaturity is what came out. We never knew how to respond correctly to pressure. We would only react. We both reacted in different ways but none of them were good. If you had been watching us at times like that, you would have easily thought, they sure don't love each other. That couldn't have been further from the truth. We loved each other very much. So why didn't it seem like it? Why didn't we act like it? It had to do with what was in us.

When we were squeezed back then, all of the old man that had not yet been transformed by God's Word, would ooze out of us. What do I mean by old man? We can get a better idea reading in Ephesians 4:22-25 NIV. "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old man, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new man, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness..." 

Renee and I had not allowed God to do this work in us at that point in our lives. Consequently, when we were under pressure, what came out of us was a horrible combination of selfishness and immaturity. It wasn't that Renee and I didn't love each other. We just hadn't let Jesus be formed in us enough to get rid of the old way of communicating through our impulsive emotional responses. Did that work against us? Of course it did. What kept us together? Recognizing that WE DID love each other and that we needed God's help or the constant pressureS of life would destroy us and our marriage. We wanted our marriage not only to succeed, but also to be a blessed marriage of God.

There was a particular verse of scripture that helped us re-approach how we dealt with pressure and each other. It was Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV that said, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”  This verse says that when one man's finances get tight, his tendency is to pull back and preserve what he has so he doesn't run out. It says this somehow doesn't always work out and he ends up with little or nothing. Then it talks about the man who gives God's way when finances get tight. He gives more liberally and somehow miraculously ends up with more. It says that he, and those he gives to, end up refreshed.

The same thing can happen when fighting breaks out between two people. When communication is going lousy and a couple is verbally beating each other up, each will pull back and withdraw. Each person wants to fight for his or her position of being right. Then the tallying of wrongs begins and gets rehearsed in mental arguments again and again. Before long, neither wants to apologize and work toward forgiveness. If you want to learn God's supernatural way of turning things around, then apply this wisdom from God in how you deal with each other. Instead of withdrawing and defending the position of being right, change direction and give love more liberally!

There were times when Renee and I were under pressure. We felt squeezed and snapped at each other far too much. When we did, I knew I had to lay down my pride and get us out of this mess no matter whose fault it was or we would continue to head toward disaster. I began to practice the wisdom of giving liberally by giving Renee love more liberally. I'd ask Renee to forgive me even when I didn't feel I was wrong. I'd work toward the goal of reconciliation. Even if she didn't want to forgive right away, I just kept telling her I was sorry and how wonderful she was. I threw out the seeds of love liberally. Honey, you were right, I was wrong. I love you so much; all I want to do is get this right between us and love you more. I would just keep on this path. Love is hard to resist and pretty soon she'd soften. Then as today's verse said, we'd both be refreshed. No one said it's easy. Laying down your pride to reconcile can feel impossibly hard and unfair to yourself. But, adding the pressure of fighting to the ongoing pressures of life is worse and has horrible results! Doing things right is hard work with the potential for great results! Renee and I paid the price to work hard swallowing our pride, forgiving and moving forward. We prayed to God asking him to help transform us and leave selfishness and immaturity behind. We practiced loving each other with liberal godly love. And when we were under pressure, we ramped up our liberal love to each other recognizing the devil's devices to add pressure on pressure to get us to fight.

No matter what the pressures are in your life, you can crack and break under pressure, or you can let that pressure squeeze the liberal love of God from you—something that most won't expect. The result is awesome and you end up being supernaturally transformed into the Christ-like person you want to be! As I said, either way is hard work. Choose to work hard for the great result and blessing He wants for you!

John 13:34 (NIV) "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net



If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

How Your Donations Are Used? click here

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2017 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Monday, December 11, 2017

Blessing is God's Desire For You!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

God does not want you confused over who He is, over who Jesus is, or over you becoming a child of God. He wants and has the best of intention and plans for you!
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jesus died, arose, and paid the price for you to be blessed and receive all that God has for you. When you finally get hold of that revelation, you will begin to trust Him and His many promises to you. God says He has a good plan for you. That plan is blessing. Satan would like you to think God has abandoned you leaving you high and dry. That isn’t the truth! Blessing has always been God’s intent for you and for anyone that would come to know and live for Him.

When God blesses us, it means to confer benefits or gifts to us – to prosper us or to improve our quality of life. His initial benefits are a relationship with Him coupled with the forgiveness of sin and the promise of Heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. That is only the beginning. God’s promised blessings are almost overwhelming to believe—especially because they are far above anything you are experiencing in your present life. He promises supernatural peace that transcends the burdens or trials that would otherwise weigh you down. Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

He doesn’t come close to stopping there. He promises to take you out of a war-torn ravaged life. When God came to rescue His people from Egypt through Moses, they were so beaten down that they found it hard to believe that He cared for them or that He would really help them. Does that describe you? Do you have a hard time believing in God’s promises—that they are real and cry out to you? Do you even know what they are? If you do, can you imagine them manifesting your life? Can you believe that the deliverance and blessing that God wanted for His people then, He also wants for you today?

Let’s look into a few of His promised blessings. They may seem the opposite of your present experience and difficult for you to even imagine in your life. If you can’t wrap your brain about them, how about wrapping your faith around them.

Psalm 144:12-15 says, “May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace. May our farms be filled with crops of every kind. May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands, even tens of thousands, and may our oxen be loaded down with produce. May there be no breached walls, no forced exile, no cries of distress in our squares. Yes, happy are those who have it like this! Happy indeed are those whose God is the Lord.”


Can you see in these verses that God wants blessing to affect your children, your livelihood, your assets, your savings, your protection and your peace? Does the peace described, “no cries of distress,” sound like the peace in your life? Does God want this for you? He says, “Yes, happy are those who have it like this! Happy indeed are those whose God is the Lord.”

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2017 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Friday, December 08, 2017

Joy in the Midst of Suffering

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

The Joyous Life and Wedding of Katie Kirkpatrick

Katie Kirkpatrick’s story is a powerful reminder that we can still find joy in the midst of suffering tragedy by focusing on and celebrating the present moment.

On Valentine’s Day, 2002, Katie Kirkpatrick, then a freshman at Rochester College (a small Christian college in Rochester Hills, Michigan), was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Undaunted, Katie strove to keep up with her studies, but she suffered another setback in 2003 when she was diagnosed with an inoperable lung tumor wrapped around her pulmonary artery. Nonetheless, in 2004 the resilient Katie took part in champion cyclist Lance Armstrong’s Ride for the Roses cancer fundraiser.

On January 15, 2005, twenty-one-year-old Katie—the girl “with a contagious smile and unrelenting optimism” who had been battling cancer for three years—married twenty-three-year-old Lapeer County sheriff’s deputy Nick Goodwin, her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, at Church of Christ in Hazel Park, Michigan.

Photos were taken by Romain Blanquart.

Katie Kirkpatrick and her fiance, Nick, rest prior to their wedding. Katie has terminal cancer and spends hours in chemotherapy. Here Nick waits while she finishes one of the sessions.

katie-kirkpatrick-nick-sleeping-in-hospital

Even in pain and dealing with her organs shutting down, with the help of morphine, Katie took care of every single wedding plan. Her dress had to be adjusted several times due to her constant weight loss.

katie-kirkpatrick-putting-on-earring

An expected guest was her oxygen tank. Katie had to use it during the ceremony and reception. Katie's parents look on.

katie-kirkpatrick-in-wedding-dress-sitting-with-nick













Katie, in a wheelchair, listening to her husband and friends serenading her.

katie-kirkpatrick-in-wheelchair-being-serenaded













In the middle of the party Katie had to rest for a bit and catch her breath. The pain doesn't allow her to stand for long periods of time.

katie-kirkpatrick-resting-at-reception













Katie passed away just five days after her wedding at the McLaren Regional Medical Center in Flint, Michigan

katie-kirkpatrick-in-wedding-dress-snuggling-with-nick













Nick said of the wedding and Katie’s passing: It was wonderful. It was a dream come true. She was the most beautiful angel ever—just caring and selfless, and such an inspiration to everyone. She was always smiling no matter what happened, no matter what news she got. She was as close to perfect as they come.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

How Your Donations Are Used? click here

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

We All Have Some! What Do We Do With Our Regrets?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

I have tried to live my life in such a way that when I looked back over it one day, I’d feel no regrets. I've really tried to follow and obey the Lord and obey the direction I've sensed from Him. But, if I am perfectly transparent with you, I've had my moments where I cared more about me than obeying God. I've had my moments where my attitude or my words were less than appropriate. I have had my moments where I should have taken a better course of action. I've had moments of opportunity to be a better husband to Renee or a better father to my children. For the most part, I’m happy with how I've walked out my life in the Lord, but as hard as I have tried, I can’t say there aren't any regrets. I can only say I have few.

Even so, I refuse to spend too much time mulling over those few things I regret. When I do reflect on them, I look at them only with short-term views—just enough time to bring them before God. In that time, I examine my heart and seek His help so as not to repeat them. God’s Word instructs us what to do with regret. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (TLB) says, "For God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life. We should never regret his sending it. But the sorrow of the man who is not a Christian is not the sorrow of true repentance and does not prevent eternal death." Regrets do damage if we don’t forgive ourselves after God does and move on. Moving on doesn't mean become callous and indifferent toward past mistakes. It means being sincerely sorry, learning from your mistakes or regrets, making changes, and then moving forward.

Some time ago, someone I had considered a good friend began to lie to me about something in order to accomplish his personal agenda. Those lies turned into a nightmare that caused serious hurt and pain to a number or people including me. When he was caught, I know at first he felt regret. But instead of admitting it and being sorry for the kind of behavior that led up to it, he decided he didn't want to take the responsibility for the hurt that was caused by his actions. Consequently, his actions and behavior did not change. He still manipulates to get his way at the expense of others. Only godly sorrow leads to real change. Without it, people don't change. Today’s Fresh Manna warns us against hardening our heart at those moments of regret and ditching godly sorrow. "...You don't want to end your life full of regrets, nothing but sin and bones, Saying, "Oh, why didn't I do what they told me? Why did I reject a disciplined life? Why didn't I listen to my mentors, or take my teachers seriously? My life is ruined!" (Proverbs 5:7 MSG)

It’s imperative to understand that we all make bad choices and mistakes we regret. No one escapes that! You might make a wrong decision. You might slip up and act or speak out of character. You might come to realize that you tuned out or disobeyed what the Lord was leading you to do. When you do, if you’re spiritually and emotionally healthy, you’ll feel regret. When you do feel regret, make amends to God and if possible, and to anyone you are aware of that you hurt. If what you’re regretting has mostly just hurt you, repent before the Lord and turn from it. If you’ll learn from what you regret and move forward, you will minimize future regrets rather than getting caught in them like quicksand.

God has great mercy on those that desire to learn from their mistakes and refocus on His instructions for life. Psalm 119:77 says, “Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your precepts are my delight. When we blow it, God not only has mercy, but He offers His grace – His supernatural help in times of trouble to those that will admit and turn from their regrets. Proverbs 3:34 says, He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.

If you've blown it somewhere, don’t get buried in regret. Take care of business with God and with man. Have sincere godly sorrow before the Lord and those you hurt. Then receive the tender mercy of God and His grace to move forward. Let go of the past because you can’t change it. Look forward to the grace of God helping you live your life with as few regrets possible. Let today be that new day. Then move forward in His mercy and grace!

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT) "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning" 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

How Your Donations Are Used? click here

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2017 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

What Does it Mean to Fear the Lord and How Will it Bless Us?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


One of the things that I periodically take time to do, is check to see if I have a healthy fear (reverence) of the Lord. What does it mean to fear the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is all about reverencing God for who He is. It's about understanding His power and might. It's understanding that He created everything with a purpose. It's understanding that God alone can and will redeem our soul and deliver us from the destruction of Satan’s efforts—if we will learn to revere Him and His Word above all things in life.

Some years ago, God spoke to me in one of my quiet times with Him. He was kindly but firmly chastising me. He said, “Tim, unless you learn to revere and esteem my words and the things I say to you, over that which you hear from men, I will be nothing more than just one more opinion in your lifean opinion that you will discard or forget about. It is only when you reverence my Word above the words of men that you will experience my Word coming alive, speaking direction into your life, bringing instruction and causing life-transformation that will always take you toward my blessings. My word has to have preeminence in your life." Upon hearing this from the Lord, I was reminded of Acts 5:29 that says “... we must obey God rather than men!”

I was convicted, humbled, corrected, and repentant after hearing these words. These word triggered one of the greatest changes of my life. It was this word from God that led me to begin daily journaling what God was speaking to me, which in turn led me to begin the journey of writing Fresh Manna. That simple act of obedience resulted in me writing daily devotions that have now been read in over 217 countries around the world. Could I have ever known that would happen? No, but reverence led to the obedience which created this life-changing opportunity! It has happened to me again and again. It happened when I obeyed God and created the world's first commercial fold-down infant changing table that you know see in public bathrooms all over the world. Reverence and obedience will create amazing opportunities that are all hidden in His plan for your life!

Why does God want us to reverence Him? Is He on an ego trip? Is He a dictator? God forbid that we would ever think any thoughts of this kind. To the contrary God is pure in love, mercy and goodness. His desire for us to reverence Him is so that as we follow His leading—the result which will be a life of blessing. His perfect will for each of our lives will ultimately lead us into a life we look back on and consider greatly blessed. That is exactly how I feel today looking back over my life.

God speaks to us through His word so that He may lead us in our thoughts and create godly desires that motivate us and lead us in His path and will for us. We see this in Psalms 37:4 (NIV) which says, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." And, Psalms 37:23 (NKJV) that says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way." And again in Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) which says, "A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps." All this direction that leads our life into God's blessing comes to us through His Word—if we reverence what He says!

A part of reverencing God is to learn to pay attention and respond to the impressions we feel in our heart that often come from His word speaking to us! From this comes His blessing, deliverance from evil, and divine protection.

Learning to obey God in the simple day-to-day impressions in our heart that we suspect are from Him is how we learn to follow His Spirit. If you continually neglect responding to those impressions, they eventually fade. You've not learned to value reverencing God's voice and His direction for you. You've neglected the small things that God is directing you to obey Him in. He wants obedience in the small impressions of the heart.

Impressions of the heart come to Christians far more often than they are aware of. If we learn to obey them, we learn to live a Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed, empowered life. If not, we become like King Saul.

Saul was a king that was chosen by God to serve His purposes and be blessed in the process. Saul saw God lead him and work supernaturally in His life. Yet his desire for gaining the respect of others became more important than obeying what God was telling him to do. He stopped reverencing God as you'll see various verses in Samuel chapters 10-15.

“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance? The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power… and you will be changed into a different person….God changed Saul's heart, and all these signs were fulfilled… Sometime later… “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

God delights when our reverence for Him leads us to obey those promptings in our heart. His grace will supernaturally help us do them. It is always important to take time at some point in your life and ask, What is and what has God been impressing upon my heart to do for some time? Learn to catch those impressions of the heart and promptings you feel as you read God's Word. Remember, He only wants to help you and lead you to blessing. Obedience will develop your spiritual character, heighten your love for God, and lead you to His will and blessing.

James 1:25 (NLT) "But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net





If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

How Your Donations Are Used? click here

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2017 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Monday, December 04, 2017

Churches Matter, But Not All Churches Are Created Equal

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


A statement I have repeated consistently over my 35 years of ministry is this: Not all churches are created equal. In America, churches are scattered across every state, every city, every community, and every neighborhood. The fact that these buildings are called churches, implies they are Christian communities and the people in these churches are Christians. But, unfortunately that is not close to the truth.

Years ago, when I was traveling out-of-town, I picked up a local newspaper and was reading it when I came across a story by a local journalist I’ll call Mary. Mary had been invited to visit a church in her city. She was so pleasantly surprised by her visit, she decided to publish a story about this church. 

Mary came to the church service early so this pastor could give her a tour prior to the congregation’s arrival and start of the service.

Mary had grown up without religion being a part of her life. Neither of her parents were believers and so church had simply never been a part of her upbringing. As Mary walked into the sanctuary where the services were held, she notice many altars representing different religions—each with their own religious statues and/or artifacts representing Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and so on. I believe she said there was about nine altars—eight representing better known religions, and one other altar representing all other gods not represented individually. Mary thought this was so wonderful that all religions were respectfully represented and honored. She thought, If all churches were like this, there would be such a greater unity of people amongst people of religion. The rest of her article was about this church and the thought—Why can’t all churches be like this? I understand how Mary could think like this. She really knew nothing about church. It made me more determined to help people understand what God had created the church to be! 

Becoming a Christian is not this automatic happening, from growing up in a religious home. A person isn't a Christian because they were baptized as an infant and attended a religious church through their early years of childhood and adolescence. Christianity is not even a religion. Christianity is the broken relationship between man and God through sin, being personally restored through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of one's life. The people who have personally and individually received Christ as Savior, upon this experience, are called born-again.

Jesus explained it like this: John 3:3-8 (NIV) "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with  everyone born of the Spirit."

Jesus was saying that when you give your life to Christ, a miracle happens. You are born-again. Though you can't see or know where the Holy Spirit comes from, like the wind, you can sense it. Your sins are washed away and your life starts over as the Holy Spirit helps you begin to see life though God's eyes. 

This Christian instantly becomes a part of God’s universal church. The gathering of these believers together in community is what we most perceive as the local church. Unless a church teaches these truths, it isn't a church!  And this is why all buildings called a church aren't necessarily so!

This church that Mary was visiting was anything but a church. Other gods are an abomination to God because they deceive people from the one true God and His Son Jesus—the only one who can save us from our sins.  And this is why God had Moses inscribe the words, we read in Exodus 20:3-5 (TLB) "You may worship no other god than me.  "You shall not make yourselves any idols: no images of animals, birds, or fish.  You must never bow or worship it in any way; for I, the Lord your God, am very possessive. I will not share your affection with any other god… "

To get to my point today, Churches matter. It matters first that they truly are a church—a place where people can come together to learn how to give their life to Christ, and then as new believers learn how to live their life for Christ. It matters whether churches teach the Bible so that believers are taught God's ways. Many  places called churches are simply religious institutions.

If your church doesn’t teach how to give your life to Christ and how to develop a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus, you are in the wrong place. If your church doesn’t teach you God’s word and help you understand it in a way that relates practically in how to live it out in today’s world, you are in the wrong place. Churches Matter and  God wants you in one! If you aren’t in the right one, or if you haven’t ever personally prayed and asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, pray and ask God now to receive you, forgive you, and to lead you to that right church. I promise you, He can and He will. It will happen and your life will change, find direction, find purpose and become rich in blessing through Jesus Christ. Churches matter because Jesus is the head of the church and calls all mankind to it His church—not to false gods and religions that keep us from Him. 

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net





If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

How Your Donations Are Used? click here

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2017 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/