Monday, September 29, 2014

Don't Let Yourself Stray From God

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


An acquaintance of mine said, Man I feel lost and confused right now! He asked me if I had ever felt that way? I told him yes! We have all been lost and we have all felt lost!

When I first gave my life to the Lord, I moved in and out of that feeling. I felt so far from God and so unsure how to get to where I would now call the perfect will of God for my life. I only knew then that I just wasn't where I needed to be. Back then, I didn't simply didn't understand that I was feeling astray. My life wasn't where I knew it needed to be.

Every human being has gone astray. Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way..." Every person, regardless of whether they will admit, it has gone astray. They have experienced the feeling at some point in their life of being astray from God. The first step to removing yourself from that feeling is accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Not everyone knows that they need Jesus but they do know the feeling of being astray. It's a feeling that no one likes. That's why people try to rid themselves of it. We've heard the expression of people trying to  fill the void in their life.  That void is not knowing their Maker—the Lord, intimately and not understanding the purpose of their life. That and wandering from God is what causes us to have deep inner feelings of being astray.

People work hard to get rid of the yuck feeling of being astray. People go on journeys and seasons of experimentation to remove that feeling. Some try to cover it with alcohol and others with drugs, or both. Some with a change of personal identity—piercings or unusual hair cuts, or tattoos or hair colors. Some with styles of clothing that relate to the lifestyle of a niche' of people. Some through music. Others through diving into a career or career advancement. Some try by changing their surroundings or job. Others jump into sexual relationships without any or little commitment. Some people try fill their void through constant shopping while others over-eat. Some fill their life with healthy habits of fitness to find other ways to feel good about themselves. All of these things can mask the feeling of being astray for a season, but the feeling will always come back. This feeling can only be dealt with by aligning your life and purpose with the path of life that God has destined for you. Then the feeling goes away.

I said that I still had that feeling after I had received Jesus as my personal Savior and it's true, I did! I knew I was finally getting on the right track but also knew the Holy Spirit was leading me to make serious and necessary changes in my life that I still sometimes resisted out of a fear of the unknown. I didn't know where God was leading me and didn't know him intimately enough at that point to realize I could completely abandon myself to His trust.  Yet I yearned to discover my life's purpose.

In the years to come, as I trusted the Lord and His Word, and yielded more and more to the direction I felt He was leading me,  personal transformation happened! I came to understand that it’s in trusting the enabling power of the Holy Spirit within us, coupled with the instruction of God’s Word that helps transformation to happen. It's much like when Abraham had to leave his home and follow God's leading to a new home and purpose. Because Abraham trusted God and followed after Him, his life became aligned with what God wanted to do through Him. God established a covenant with Abraham that promised mind-boggling blessings to he and his heirs for all generation. That promise to Abraham still reach into our lives, all the way from back then to today. We easily see this in Galatians 3:29 (NLT) "And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you." 

Life is full of distractions that seem to continuously try to pull us away from God. God compares us to sheep and reminds us that sheep have a tendency to wander.  Understanding that, I purpose to stay close to God. I know that staying close to Him creates joy and excitement in my life that is unparalleled to anything this world has to offer. If I begin to wander from Him, it doesn't take long for those feelings of being astray  to surface. If I do wander, what do I do? I simply cry out to God, Help me Father, I feel like I am astray from you and where you want me to be. I know by faith that He desires to and will help lead me back into His perfect will. I cooperate by spending more time in His word, in prayer praising and thanking Him. I spend more time with other Christians, and I make sure I am at church and serving those in my church and around me in my life. I know all these things help get me draw closer to the Lord and get me back on track with Him! And it feels so good!

Be blessed in knowing this simple but profound truth! If you get off track somewhere, you can be absolutely confident He will lead you back on track if you will cry out to Him from a sincere heart and yield to Him.

Psalms 119:35 (NLT) "Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found." 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 


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Tim here:




Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 26, 2014

Trusting God When You've Blown It

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


One morning  I woke up and something clicked within me. I realized I had made mistake. Renee and I both did. We booked a flight to go visit our son and daughter-in-law only to find we accidentally booked it over a day when I had a speaking engagement that I cared very much about. We were both shocked that we made this oversight because we are for the most part, organized and aware of our schedules. So what happened here? I can only tell you that I made a mistake. The airlines wouldn't let us change the tickets without paying costly penalties. There are few things in life that bother me more than when I make a stupid mistake—especially the kind that you know you should have caught.

I know that many people get mad when these kinds of things happen. I know that most look to blame and because they don’t want to blame themselves, they blame circumstances, others, or God. I was telling someone last week, only the foolish blame God. He is not the source of any problem. He is the solution to every problem. I blew it. I created the predicament and I didn't have an easy or painless solution.  I told the Lord I was sorry that I messed up and asked Him to guide me in the best way to handle the problem.

When Moses was delivering God’s people from Pharaoh and Egypt, he was following God and God was leading them through some desert places. They didn't know that he was helping them avoid enemies they were not yet strong enough or courageous enough to confront. In these places that God was leading them, it wasn't always comfortable or to their liking. They did what people too often do when they aren't happy, they complained and whined. They declared that they blew it and should have never left Egypt. In stead of trusting God, they lost perspective of Him being with them and guiding them despite how the circumstances appeared. Numbers 11:4-6 “Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: "Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!"

What they weren't seeing was that the food God had provided for them in the desert—the manna, was supernatural. It would completely sustain them and keep their bodies healthy the entire time they God required them to eat it. Number 11:8 says, “The people went about and gathered the manna, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of fresh oil.”

That fresh oil was symbolic of the Word of God. God offers us that taste of fresh oil every day! God provides that Fresh Word from Heaven—the only thing that can keep our heart encouraged, our faith vibrant, and lift us out of discouragement. Moses taught them that truth later saying, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years… to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut. 8:2-3)

Jesus later taught the same thing saying, “...so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." (John 6:57-58)

When things go wrong or we make mistakes, our temptation is to get mad, get frustrated, and feel like God has abandoned us. Discouragement is demonically designed to tempt us to blame God or others, and to discourage us from running to God and His Word. The Israelites were whining over their situation. Supernatural provision was in their grasp yet they didn't see it for what it was.

My mistake was not out of sin or rebellion. It was a mistake. It wasn't my first and it wouldn't be my last. But I was confident that God is greater than my mistakes. His word was my manna! Psalm 112:7 spoke to my heart saying, "The righteous man will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”

I didn't have an immediate solution to my dilemma. I could beat myself up over my mistake but I refused. I refused to become discouraged over it. I laid it at the Lord’s feet and said, Father, I messed this up and I don’t know how, but I am so sorry. Please help me work this out. I thank you in advance in Jesus name.

The following day, I got a call from the church that I was supposed to speak at. They called to apologize but they had given me the wrong date to speak. They wondered if I could speak on their new date. I smiled and told them I could arrange that. When I hung up the phone, I broke out in praise for the Lord's goodness and mercy. If this was a test of my faith, I had passed it and God had blessed it. I was able to do both and both were a great blessing!

Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV) "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."

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!  FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Do You Want to Know What Smart Living Is?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Do you think you're smart?  I think many if not most people would like to think they are smart. I think most people would say that they aren't stupid. But how do they measure that? Is it a matter of measuring one’s IQ? Is it decided by how much education one has? Is being smart measured by how much common sense you have? People will measure being smart by many different standards.

For me, I think I'm smart when I emulate Joshua's heart and attitude. Joshua 24:15 (NKJV) "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,,, But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." 

I think I'm smart when I see what God instructs me to do in His Word and I trust the instruction and direction He leads me in more than my opinion or ability to figure out how things should be done. I think I am smart when I put sincere heart faith and trust in Him helping me to execute the steps he leads me in. I think I am smart when I pursue the general plan for living that He has for us all!

I was meditating on the verse 1 Cor. 7:30 (NLT) “Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God's work.” The Apostle Paul wrote these words while teaching Christians about distractions that steal our attention from what is most important in this life—serving God and His plan in all the different ways He would lead us.

There are times—often too many times when someone or something makes us feel sad.  Sometimes it's because of something someone said that discourages us. Sometimes its because people feel like they are poor and have nothing. We could easily give into the many opportunities for discouragement that present themself. If we did, it would lead us to all the wrong places. Keeping focused on why you are in this earth—which is to serve the plan of God by being an influence and revealer of the love of Jesus, will help you keep moving forward and bring you back to the big picture of life. 2 Corinthians 6:10 (NLT) says, "Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything."  God is smart and knows that you serving His plan will help you. Consequently, He teaches us to not let sadness have anything more than a very temporary place in our life. We need to get right back to living for the Lord and focus on serving Him and people. When we do, we find that it becomes like the hand of God reaching down and pulling us out of a pit. Focusing on being a blessing to others helps pull us out of discouragement and refocuses us on moving forward. I am smart if I follow being an influence for Him as my life's purpose!
Everyone likes to be happy and so it becomes a pursuit of life for most! Happiness is so enjoyed that it has an addicting effect. It feels so good and so much fun that it's all you want. Many people live their whole life chasing happiness rather than God’s plan for their life. The pursuit of happiness without God-given purpose is usually self-serving and can actually cause great periods of depression because it’s impossible to maintain. It’s better to live happy and enjoy the happy moments of time that come naturally in life. The greatest happiness comes from serving God by serving people, and helping others discover and live for Jesus. That doesn't mean you have to talk about Jesus every second of your life. It means you walk in the joy of the Lord, shining daily for Him, and bringing happiness to others through your smile, attitude, and love walk. Pursue that goal and you will find greater happiness than you've ever known and you will be living life the way God intended for you to live it. That will make you very smart!

Finally, God teaches us that we are smart when we use our wealth, that being our time, talents, and resources—whatever God has blessed us with, to be a blessing to others. Jesus said in Luke 12:48 (NKJV) "... to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."   
Wealth pursued simply for one’s own pleasure will most often draw people away from God. This is true because once they have the resources to live the dream that the world paints, they spend it on themselves to increase their personal happiness.  Again, this is usually self-serving and those that live this way have little time to serve God. But, when you have great resources and you use them in the diversity of ways that God leads you to, while keeping true to a consistent life of serving God by serving your church and the people around you, then you have used wealth in the purpose it is given for. That is smart!

Whether happy or sad, or wealthy or poor, God wants us focused on Him and His purpose for your life—that is, serving His plan. This leads to smart living. I can’t improve on the Apostle Paul’s words, words I think lead us to being smart, and so I will close with them.

1 Cor. 7:30-31 (NLT) “Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God's work. Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away.”

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! FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net





Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Transformation to Becoming Generous

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


We all hopefully have a few memories that make us laugh when we think about them. One that makes me smile or laugh each time I think about it has to do with my kids when they were young. Whenever we would go on a long drive for a weekend getaway, about half way through the trip, we'd stop in a grocery store or gas station and I'd let each of my four children pick out three treats! They knew this moment was coming and were excited for it. When we'd get back in the car, they would already be digging into their first treat. It was at this point that I strategically tested their giving nature. I'd put my hand out and say, can I have a couple of those? Two of them would easily share. One of them was more hesitant but did. And the other one didn't want to share. He'd look up at me and say, Dad, you just bought these for us. Why didn't you buy one for yourself? I'd say, I didn't want to buy a whole box or bag of candy and was just hoping you'd share a couple with me. I'd continue, I bought those for you and yet you won't share a couple with me? Sometimes he did but grudgingly, and sometimes he didn't.  This opened the door for a discussion on learning to be a generous giver!

2 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT) says, "You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

This verse reveals that God wants us to become those who learn to give generously and cheerfully. The main reason people don't is because they think they will have less and be deprived of something by giving what they have. God's Word reveals the opposite. It indicates over and over that the supernatural power of God is most involved with those that have learned to give cheerfully and by faith, that when they do, God will become involved in their needs. Look at these two verses and see if you can see it.

Proverbs 11:24 (NIV) says, "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty." Imagine that; you give more freely (because you trust God and have become a generous giver) and you end up with more. Mr. Stingy doesn't give and he ends up with less. Hmm!

And in Luke 6:38 (NLT) Jesus said, "Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”  

God also teaches us in Psalm 112 about the character of "the righteous person" meaning in this case, one who has godly character developed within him/her. Psalms 112:9 (NLT) "They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor." 

When trying to teach my children about the importance of sharing and giving, I tried to help them understand a concept that was difficult for them. You wouldn't think it would be difficult but it was. I tried to help them understand that when they shared with me, that I was always able to supply them with more. If they ran out, that was something I could help with as I had the resources to do so. The same is true when we give tithes and offerings to God, and when we give to the needs of others because we feel compelled to by the Lord. When we understand that God is our Heavenly Father and that He loves a cheerful giver, then we begin to live in His supernatural economy. We don't give to get. We give with the pure motive of being cheerful givers and when we give, we give not only to the one in need, but in our heart, making it a sacrifice to God  knowing He meets all of our needs. This is the kind of heart he blesses over and over and over again.

The gifts that we are to scatter generously are not limited to monetary or material things. Each one of us has a deep well of riches—talents, skills, time and help, edification and/or a listening ear, and more within us. As we begin to draw out those gifts and share them liberally to those around us, God transform us to become cheerful, generous, instinctive givers! We’ll learn the revelation of Proverbs 11:25 (NIV) "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." 

My children are now all adults who have become generous and cheerful givers and each of them is very blessed in their life. They have learned the blessing of giving to God and blessing others! As we learn this, it will help shape our heart to be like God's—the ultimate giver who gave the greatest of all gifts, Jesus!

Romans 8:32 (NIV) "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" 

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!  FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/