Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Having Your Life on Track With God. It Feels So Good!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


How many times have you been in your car thinking your were on the way to your destination when suddenly, you discover you are headed in a wrong direction. You get that sinking feeling of being lost and having wasted precious time.

The question, Is my life headed in the right direction is a question and secret fear a great many people have.  People hope they have the right God, the right philosophy, the right spouse, the right job and on and on. People are glad that GPS was invented but wish they had a Life GPS System!

I've had people in my office tell me about their present off-track life experience. They are looking for help getting their life back on track with God.  It seems like they can almost always remember where their life began to get off track and then I hear them regretfully mutter the words,  If only I had paid attention to what I knew deep down in my heart. 

On that note, I want to show you one of the most sobering prophetic truths that Jesus left for us concerning the last days. Before I show it to you, imagine yourself as a parent giving warning to your child about something. Your motive is love, not condemnation. You love them and you want them to avoid hurtful things. This was the heart and Spirit in which Jesus spoke these words. Jesus said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…” Matthew 24:12 (NIV) Jesus revealed that because of the ever-increasing level of evil, sin, wickedness, and corruption in this earth—especially in the last days, that it was going to invade our individual lives and cause our love for Him, for life, and for mankind “to grow cold.” Jesus is love and He is your only source of understanding and experiencing real love. Only Jesus, the author and creator of love can show us what love is and how to love others. When your love for Him grows cold, then your ability to know & give love to others has grown cold.

Jesus warned us that the ever-increasing and accelerating wickedness would work to influence your life and send you in the wrong direction—off His path for your life. Jesus said “because of this wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” This world has really changed and not for the better. Can you see the truth of His prophetic words in the world around you today? The evidence of this being true is this: Christians have become tolerant toward sin in their own life. What was once considered vile is now acceptable and the new norm.

So how do I turn this devotion your reading right now, toward some point of edification and encouragement? Here's how. Think for a moment about how you feel when you find out you are driving in the wrong direction. Think about how good it feels when you stop and ask for directions. Getting back on track and headed toward your destination feels so great! It makes you want to be more cautious next time. Getting back on track is a decision that can be made in a moment's time. You stop, talk with the Lord, be honest about what is going on in your life and the path that your on. You ask Him to reveal things in your life that you've given yourself over to— things that you know aren't pleasing to Him. Those elements containing wickedness such as profanity, sexual immorality, the worship of celebrities more than your love for God, polluting your body—the temple of the Holy Spirit with alcohol or drugs, the routine habit of looking at sexually inappropriate materials leading to masturbation—things you've gotten used to that have wickedness in them and that you've grown so cold toward that it hasn't bothered you. Don't allow yourself to become callous! Don't allow yourself to become apathetic! Jesus said, these things will steal your ability to love the way He loves! Examine your heart and as you do, ask the Lord to forgive you and help you back on track. Ask Him to direct your steps and give you the strength to stay on track. Then do it! Get on track!

I challenge you today. Pull out your Bible. Pray before your read and ask God to direct your heart through the verses you meditate on. Pray about what needs changing in your life. Because of your sincere love for God, the Holy Spirit will strengthen you and help you see the changes needed and the path to His will for your life. If you've drifted from church, begin searching for one until you find a church that helps you grow in the Lord. Call a Christian who loves the Lord and who you know will pray with you. Do whatever you know you should do to get on track. Don’t grow cold! Fall passionately in love with Jesus again! And in a very short amount of time, you'll feel that relief and thankfulness that you are back on the right track of life and with God!

Hebrews 3:12 (Message Bible) “So watch your step, friends. Make sure there's no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it's still God's Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn't slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we're in this with Christ for the long haul.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 


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Tim here:




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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Not Cursed! Not a Wanderer! You Are Blessed!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


People can experience tough times at any time and for a diversity of reasons. When times get tough, especially economically, people often get this feeling like they are floundering, wandering or grasping at straws just trying to do what it takes to survive. I've been to that place before. I was there early on in our marriage when we started having children and Renee and I prayerfully made the decision for her to quit her job to stay home with our children. She was making more than I was which meant we lost over half our income. I was convinced that I would do what it took to survive and I wasn't afraid of hard work. I was also convinced that God was with us and would lead us in the way. It seemed like the right decision when we made it and we really felt we were prayerfully following the direction God was giving us, but it didn't take long before our personal economy had gotten scary.

We, like anyone would that makes a decision in faith to trust God, experienced the temptation to doubt the choice we had made. We had those moments of doubt crying out God you are helping us through this aren't you?  They were just moments because as we stayed in God's word and prayed, we could continually sense His encouragement through His Word. That is where you have to hear from God and get encouragement because it's not in Satan's nature to encourage Christians who are walking by faith trusting God. Satan is skilled at painting pictures in our head and they are always pictures of doom and gloom and disaster.

In the story of Cain and Abel, Cain had murdered his brother. He tried to avoid the truth about it in a discussion with God and showed no remorse other than for his own personal condition. Cain had brought terrible consequences upon himself and was literally cursed. God told him that he would become a vagabond – a wanderer for the rest of his life. That wasn't God’s doing. It was Cain’s. He was stubborn, jealous, rebellious, and unrepentant. These very attitudes are cursed. When someone is like this, they will wander through life as a vagabond.

You are not a vagabond, nor are you a wanderer. You may be struggling somewhat to survive but you are not an aimless wanderer never getting anywhere. No, when you received Jesus, God made a promise to you. He said, “Christ has redeemed and rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." Galatians 3:13 (NLT) Jesus is the one who hung upon a tree (the cross) for you, exchanging your sins for adoption into His family and the promised blessings of Abraham reaching all the way into our life today!

In tough times this thought needs to anchor you. You are not cursed. You are blessed. God has not abandoned you. Hebrews 13:5 instructs our thinking saying, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” The Lord is not saying you shouldn't work to improve your situation. He is telling you not to grasp for straws, don't be indecisive, and don't be tempted to violate your integrity. You don’t need to because He is with you! He is in you! And He will lead you!

Let me say it again! You are not Cain. You are not rebellious. You are not a wanderer. You are blessed! Seek God and He will lead you. Shake off desperation. Seek God for guidance and for the steps you should take. GET FOCUSED! Be diligent to seek Him and work toward your future. You have one a blessed one ahead of you! Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NIV) 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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity.” Because you do belong to Him and are blessed, He’ll lead you step-by-step to your land of promise. As you trust in Him at every moment and step, you'll see His touch, His mercy and grace, and His divine help supply your needs.

Renee and I now have the benefit of years past and hindsight looking back at all the ways the Lord was there to help us! Distrust and fear would have made us wanderers! Instead, we believed we were His and we were blessed! Now our heart aches for everyone to experience this divine life that comes from trusting Him by faith. It is the life He wants us to live! It is His way of getting us to where He wants us to go!

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 


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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 21, 2014

Not For Your Record Books!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


There are truly some incredible things that people have accomplished in this world. There are those that have swum the English Channel, climbed Mt. Everest, biked across America, held their breath underwater for over four minutes, pulled a semi-truck trailer over one block's distance with a chain and their bare hands, and on and on... There are many books written on amazing feats that people have accomplished.

There is one amazing feat that I know the Lord would like us all to be able to accomplish, and on an ongoing basis. It is stated in 1 Cor 13:5 "Love...keeps no record of wrongs." Now at first that statement might not even make you stop and think—so I suggest you do just that. Think about how many times you remember what someone did to you or said to you that made you mad, offended you, or bugged you. You might at first think, I don't keep grudges or a record of wrongs. I don't get offended. I don't get bugged easily. The truth probably is, you do much more than you realize. You very likely and all too often probably remember something that someone did that bothered you. When the right moment presents itself— flash...it will be right there before you!

If every person that we deal with closely in our life had a clean slate at each new encounter, our patience level with them would go so much further. We so want God to be like that with us, and He is! It is one of the awesome qualities of His character and it's a promise of His covenant that He has established with us. Isaiah 43:25 (NIV) says,  "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." 

The Bible tells us God is love and that love keeps no record of wrongs. It sounds impossible but it's not. It's supernatural! It's God's nature to forgive and not remember when someone repents saying their sorry. He removes it forever. That's what Jesus' blood has made provision for. It covers and washes our offenses and wrong doings from God's eyes. That should make you feel awesome. That is why God is so patient with us. His nature is in us as believers and because it is, it is within our nature to love like God does—not keeping a record of wrongs.

Are you and I that forgiving? Are we that overlooking and patient with people in our life? Not without God's help we aren't! But could we be? Only if we would continually reflect on God's merciful nature, love, and patience with us. So much more grace would flow from us toward others if we only remembered that the offense that is bugging us at the moment, is one that Jesus has forgiven us of.

A while back, a man was waiting on my parents. I was standing back watching. He was totally rude to them and I wanted to go chew him out. I didn't. I stewed instead. Every time I saw him from that point on, I remembered his wrong. I remembered that moment when he was rude to my parents. I didn't even want to talk with him. He didn't know that I felt that way. It was hurting me not Him. One day I heard the Lord tell me that I was keeping a record of this man's wrong and that I was stuck in unforgiveness toward him. I had to repent and totally forgive this man. The Lord instructed me to pray for him. As I did, the ill feelings left and I could finally feel the forgiveness that had given him by faith. What a burden to get off my back!

There are some people who have done some amazing feats that are fun to read about. Are you ready to try one of the greatest feats of all? Are you ready to practice keeping no records of wrong? Go for it! It is an amazing feat that will liberate you from carrying the list of wrongs and bad feelings toward others that have burdened you for far too long. Being merciful is love, it's freedom, and it's the character of God—and you!

1 Cor 13:5 Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 


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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 18, 2014

An Easter Message

12972-timFresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt
One night Renee and I went to an event that we had been invited to. We had no idea how to dress for it. There was nothing in the invitation to give us direction in how to dress. I was unable to get a hold of the people who had invited us to ask them. We decided to dress nice casual. When we got there, what Renee had been wearing seemed to fit fine with what everyone else was wearing. For me it was a problem. Most every man had on a tie and jacket or suit coat and I had neither. I felt woefully under-dressed and felt self-conscience about it. I apologized repeatedly that night for my dress and never felt comfortable. Feeling uncomfortable is never good and especially when you feel that way with God.
Prior to my receiving Jesus personally as my Lord and my Savior, I ignorantly believed that Almighty God – the God of the universe –the God over all mankind, was high in Heaven on His throne having to respond to billions of people and couldn't possibly think about or care about all that I was concerned about in my life. Again, in my ignorant thinking, He was up there. I was down here. He was busy. I was insignificant. My thinking was, bother Him only in extreme emergencies and even then, don't get your hopes up too high. That was ignorant and blind thinking and has nothing to do with the reality of whom and how God is. That kind of ignorance can hurt us and keep us from God's love and help. Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."
The Bible teaches us about the Holy of Holies. It was an interior portion of the tabernacle. There was a huge veil – a type of ornate curtain that hung down separating the Holy of Holies from the first tabernacle. No one was permitted to enter it except the high priest. When Jesus died upon the cross, an earthquake happened. Powerful spiritual forces were in operation. We read about them in Matthew 27:49-54. "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit. And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks were split; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints that slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, truly this was the Son of God."
In this event we just read, it said, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom..." The significance of this to us is powerful. Jesus had given His life as a sacrifice for our sins. That sacrifice destroyed the veil. that separation between us and God. Man previously had to go to a priest to ask and get forgiveness of sin. Now that was abolished through Jesus. Jesus became the priest who offered Himself - the perfect and final sacrifice for all. That is what makes Hebrews 4:16 so powerful and such a grace to our life: "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it."
When I come boldly before Him, I live by faith in the fact that Jesus has washed my sins away. That is what allows me to come boldly. The Bible says He has washed me and put His robe of righteousness on me and that is His doing. Yet, when I come before Him – in the presence of His Holiness, I feel woefully unclean and woefully inadequate. I feel this way because I know the thoughts that run through my head. I know the inappropriate conversations I enter into. I know actions that fall short in my life. I am humbled within His presence. That makes me desire always to love Him more for loving me despite my shortcomings and for cleansing me from this unrighteousness. My love for Him grows knowing that He desires to help me, love me, and allow me to partake of His grace – His supernatural help of wisdom, resource, and ability where I would otherwise be bankrupt and without hope.
We don't need an appointment with God. He is not too busy. He does not want us to be uncomfortable around Him. We won’t be under dressed or unacceptable. God is able to love, cherish, nurture and help countless billions of people – each one personally and with great affection all at the same time. That is what makes Him God. We all receive His attention if we understand that and believe it by faith.
He has removed the veil –the force of sin that had previously separated us from God. Jesus' death accomplished that. He calls out to us. He will help us on every level. That is the Easter message. Isa 55:1-7 says it wonderfully. "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you... Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
God bless you and have a blessed Easter!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt


Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/