About Tim Burt

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Glorious Results From Being Pruned

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Hi Fresh Manna Readers, I am on a short few days vacation this week so I am re-posting a popular devotion from the past! I pray it will bless you! 

Change happens! People desire it and are afraid of it at the same time. People want to change jobs they don’t like or career paths they feel are a dead end. People want to change haircuts they’re tired of. People buy clothes they don’t need simply because they like a change. People love to try a new restaurant just for something new. People get tired of their home d├ęcor and remodel. Friends change as seasons of life change - single friends, married friends, friends with children, church friends, activity friends and more. One of the biggest fears of change is the fear of the inability to make a change and have confidence that the experience will come out alright or better than before the change. What people most often don’t like is when change just happens to them and it seems beyond their control!

If we seek God for godly change and pray things like, “Lord, I want to draw closer to you and be more like you,” which are good things to pray, then we better understand that we’ve asked Him to work change in our life. There are two kinds of change the Lord works in our life in answer to those prayers. One is that He wants to help us rid our life of things that are harmful, aren’t profitable, or have no value. The other is that He prunes what is good so that it bears even more fruit in our life. John 15:2 says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

It’s funny. We want changes that will make our life better but we don’t often recognize it as it comes upon us. Consequently, we often resist it kicking and screaming. I’ve tried to grow and mature in this area because I’ve learned over time that God is often in change – especially when I pray for His will to be done in my life - and always ended up loving God’s results as I look back in hindsight.

When Renee and I moved into our present house, it was a gift from God. Our house is on a creek and it feels very private. I love to garden but felt limited when we first moved in because the border of my back yard was a think forest. It hid most of the creek and created so much shade, it limited what I could plant and grow. I would have loved to thin out a few trees, but for had no way to do that.

Some years back, I had a regular routine of running 5 miles around our neighborhood and always prayed over the neighborhood when I ran. One day, a storm came through that took out over 10,000 trees in our community. It wiped out a number of them along our creek and back area. It seemed like a disaster and was considered that. The city over time came and cleaned out those trees. When those trees were lost, it left a perfect number of trees that allowed us to see the creek, get sunlight, and for me to expand our garden. The entire community seemed prettier once it was all cleaned up. Then the city decided that the area behind our house on the other side of the creek which had lost all its trees would make a great place to put in a walking path and wildflower garden. It had previously been used as a place where people dumped any and everything. They bouldered our creek with large boulders. They put in a beautiful wildflower garden with walking paths and ornate streetlight type lamps. And I finally had the sunlight I needed to built the garden I wanted.

At the time of the storms and tree cleanup, I couldn’t see all that God was doing. I could only hope and pray for a good result. But, in hindsight, I realized that everything I hoped for had happened in a way that only God could have made happen – and with no cost or effort on our part, except prayer.

When God prunes our life, it’s to get rid of the unwanted and to bring more fruit and even a better result to what is good. This has happened in my life over and over again. What I started out complaining over, manifested in the big picture as an absolute blessing. If only we could trust God when change that is outside of our control is happening. If we would pray in faith, knowing that God intimately cares about the details of our life and is our Heavenly Father – the very best Father we will ever experience, then we would trust Him through every difficult change. When we go through the change, instead of being anxious, we need to lift our heart and tell the Lord, “Lord, I am not sure of how you are working this out, but I do know that I love you and you love me. I trust you to purge my life and bring more fruit. I know you want the best for me and I trust you with my life. You gave me your very best when you gave me Jesus. I trust you with all the less significant areas of my life. Thank you for your help and love. In Jesus name.”

Whether it’s the job, friends, your home, or whatever, when change is forging in your life, bind the enemy in your prayers and turn the circumstances over to the Lord asking and then truly believing He will bring change that will bear great fruit and bless you! He is good and wants what is best for you! Matthew 7:11 “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.”

P.S. This is my garden today!

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





Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2015 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Assurance: The Foundation of Strong Faith

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Do you think it's important to know how God feels about you and what He wants for you?  If so, why do you think it’s important to know what God wants for you? Why do you think it’s important to know how God feels about you? Maybe this will help you answer those questions. If you had a spouse and you didn’t know if he/she loved you, would it affect how you feel about your spouse and marriage? Of course it would! Assurance of love and acts of kindness and good will toward each other are absolutely critical to the success in any marriage. Knowing your spouse absolutely loves you is the foundation of your trust! 

If you weren’t sure if you boss liked you or liked your work, would it affect how you feel and your performance? If you felt like your boss was critical of your work and was just waiting for an excuse to get rid of you, would it make you want to go into work?

How much more to do you think it would affect your relationship with God if you believed He didn’t love you? If you thought He was out to get you? If you thought He didn’t care about you and refused to play any role in your life except to punish you for wrong doing? This world is filled with people that who these very thoughts or unresolved questions about God. They really don’t know if He loves them. They really don’t know that He cares for them. Consequently, they pull back from God out of fear and doubt from their lack of assurance of His love. That coupled with a conviction within their own hearts over sinful things they do in their life will lead them to avoid God.

God wants us to stop the wavering over the fact that He loves us. Stop and think for a minute. The reason He sent Jesus into this world was for us. He became a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus lived without sin and yet was punished and put to death accused as a sinner. The punishment Jesus received that He did not deserve is the punishment you and I deserved that we will not receive. He did this while we were still sinners. In other words His love reached out to us before our sins were forgiven and blotted out. How much more does He love us now? These scriptures speak God's assurance of love for us.
1 John 3:16 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us…”

Rom 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

And, theses power words of assurance of God’s love and promise to you. Though they were spoken in the time of Moses, He spoke them to bring assurance to you today. You are one of the thousand generations that He speaks of below. It’s powerful and offers you your assurance!

Deut. 7:7-9 “The Lord did not choose you and lavish His love on you because you were larger or greater than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! It was simply because the Lord loves you, and because He was keeping the oath He had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such amazing power from your slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt. Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love Him and obey His commands."

Did you ready that? “Lavish His love on us…” Wow! He really loves you and I! Believe it today! Drawing closer to God with more of a confidence and assurance of His love is the only way to break the lies and doubts that He doesn’t love us. God wants us to draw closer to Him and not with apprehension, doubt and fear over whether He loves us but with excitement over the fact that He does! As James 4:8 says, “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you."

Do what I do. Pray, “Heavenly Father, I thank you so much that you love me and desire to lavish your love on my life. I declare that I have confidence in your love. I declare your love over me today. I will celebrate your love for me by asking you to bless and help me as I live for you today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen”

Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV) "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness"

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






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2015 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Monday, May 25, 2015

Be Independent Yet Needy. That's Not a Conflict!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Over the course of life, I've often heard the phrase, I’m and independent thinker. I thought that was the goal of everyone as they grew up into adulthood and matured. I think when people say that, they somehow mean that they don’t just go with the flow but they create their own philosophies and beliefs and opinions themselves.

My goal in raising my children was to teach them to learn to think for themselves and yet teach them that God's Word is the foundation of where all their thinking should filter through so that their thoughts are in harmony with what God thinks. I wanted them to learn to make decisions for themselves as they grew older but tried to be a part of those decisions until they had enough knowledge, maturity, and experience to make them for themselves. Then I released them and worked to stay out of their decision-making process because it was now their life, not mine. My goal from that point was to be the good friend whose ear they wanted to bend and ask what I thought. If I did and do share thoughts with them, I try to tread lightly so I don’t accidentally dominate their thoughts or decisions and push them away. This has helped each of them become a responsible adult that can make quality decisions independently of me – but not independent of God.

My life’s role feels significant to me. As a Pastor, I have many lives I influence and help in a great diversity of ways. I’m fairly confident that I’m seen as a strong leader. I know how to and do think independently, but also flow in unity and cooperation with those I work with to reach mutually desired goals and objectives. Working together with others doesn't affect my independence. It creates a healthy interdependence. I work with many strong and capable leaders–each one independent thinkers focusing on their areas and people for what is best, yet bringing all that into a larger big-picture plan so that we bring into harmony and effort, all of our thoughts and goals for the good of all we do as a team.

As much as anyone wants to be independent and as cool as it sounds to be so, it can also lead to a narcissistic attitude and way of life. The safe-guard for anyone is to realize how needy each of us are for help and cooperation and compromise in order to do execute life successfully. Learning to think independently and recognize that you are also needy of the input of God and others is not a conflict.

I’m extremely needy! I am needy for God. I am needy for His love. I am needy for His assurance that He is with me and will help me. I am needy for His wisdom because my decisions affect many people and I want to make decisions that help and bless, not hinder and hurt. I was needy for God to help me know the best way to raise my children. I was needy for Him to help me figure out how to make an income that would pay for my children’s schooling, and braces, and a thousand pairs of shoes, and college, and weddings, and so much more. I was needy. I still am. I need His wisdom for every decision and of course the major decisions I am facing. I am also needy for good people in my life. I am needy for particularly gifted people to help me execute some things that lie ahead. I am needy for anointed words from the throne of God for those that need them today. My life doesn't work without the love and help of others. I am needy!

All this causes me to realize my limitations and the Lordship of Jesus Christ in my life. He is God and I am His son and a son that needs His help. Jesus has made this all possible and I praise Him forever! Because of the repeated assurance of His love and desire to help me, though I know I am needy, I also know He’ll help me and it helps me be more independent in the right ways.

Finally, I am awed that the God of this universe has made Himself so intimate and available always desiring me to bring every need to Him with assurance of His caring and help. I am awed at these words. Philip. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. He gives me the permission slip to be needy and have faith in Him and then strengthens my faith and confidence by these amazing words of assurance. 1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of Him. He said, “This is the confidence…”

This is where the foundation of healthy independence comes from in my life. This is the reality of us all! We can be independent and needy without being in conflict. It’s our life in God!

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






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2015 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Lord Will Calm Your Heart!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Years ago I was on a trip to Scotland and Ireland. You haven't seen green grass until you've been to Scotland and Ireland. They have some of the most beautiful countryside and rolling green hills I have ever seen. You also see many sheep. They graze in these green never-ending pastures. Places like this also make me think about Psalm 23:2 "The Lord makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters. When I am in places like this, I can't help but see God and all of His creation in everything I gaze upon. I think, "God's will is to lead me to these kinds of places and atmospheres. When He does, it illuminates how magnificent and powerful He is and that the Creator of all these things loves me as His child and wants to lead me beside still waters."

Green pastures and still waters may be more the exception than the experience for most of us. Someone recently said to me, "It seems like there is always something negative going on that wants to spoil my day or season of life."  The truth is, we do have an enemy of our soul. His name is Satan and He hates God and anything that represents God. Jesus said that this enemy has come to kill, steal, and destroy. Much of the world has just watched that with the destruction and death from the tornadoes. Did God cause or allow that? Of course not. We live in a defiled world. The Bible says that because of the choices of man, Satan has become the god of this world. Killing and destruction is what he attempts to do. Even when people pray for help, for too many, it's like breaking a wishbone. They have no real faith in God or in His love and divine protection. God is moved by relationship in Jesus and by faith in His Word. In the absence of that, the devil has a heyday and tries to destroy. Death and destruction are his playground.

God has a plan even for those surrounded by destruction and death. We also see that in Psalms 23:4. "Even when I walk through the shadow of death, I will not be afraid. For You, O Lord are close with me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me."

I'll tell a bad story on myself. I was one of ten children. When I was about seven years old, I lived in a bedroom with one other younger brother and two younger sisters. I was the big shot because I was the oldest of us four. At night when we were in bed and it was dark, I would pull out my flashlight and make shadows of a spider on the wall. Those shadows scared the ba-geebers out of my younger siblings. I thought it was funny. I regret that now. It's interesting that there really was no real danger, just shadows. Shadows produced fear.

The Lord said that even as we walk through the shadow of death, we did not have to be afraid because He was with us. What is the shadow of death? It's the fearful or negative mental images that Satan continually tries to bombard our minds with seducing us into states of panic, or anxiety, or cares.The more we think upon them and "see" them in our mind the worse they get. They become shadow of death!

God has not abandoned us in these hard places. His will is to comfort us and lead us to green pastures and still waters. Psalm 23:4 says, "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."

When we will quiet our soul and spend time with Him and learn of His promises, the voice of the Holy Spirit will rise up from within and comfort us. His Words will make our soul still and the waters quiet. They will cause fear to go as God’s greatness, power, and promises are magnified within our hearts.

When I was in those fields of Scotland, surrounded by what seem like oceans of green grassy hills, God became infinite in size and my cares and problems began to fade away. We don't have to go to Scotland to experience this. We just have to take in the power of His Word and let it still our heart and soul. He loves us you know! Very much! Lean on He and His Word and trust Him!

Psalms 107:29 (NLT)  "He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves"

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





Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2015 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/