Wednesday, September 17, 2014

God Has "A Better Place" For You

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

As Israel's leader, there where many times Moses spoke to God's people. This is one of them. Deu 6:3 “Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.”
God was preparing to move them from a "temporary place" into a "better place." He had led them out of a bad place. Isn't that just like a loving God and Heavenly Father? He always wants to bring us into a better place.

You know what's really sad? They didn't make it to their better place. You know why? Because they were afraid. They were afraid that God might not do what He promised them. They focused on the fear of not knowing where they were going while living while constantly remembering the awful place they had been. These fears stole their trust and love of God and eroded their faith in what He promised them.  Faith in what God says and promises is necessary and critical to protect in our life. We learn that from Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."  Even though they had seen God work in the most miraculous of ways, they allowed fear to dominate their thinking and cloud God's promises right out of their life.
You might think, "I would never be like that." The truth is, unless you understand and firmly believe that God wants to bring YOU into a better place, you are like them. If you are trusting in YOUR ability to get you to a better place, then you're like them. As soon as your ability can’t get you further, you’ll panic in fear. Unless you know your covenant with God and have absolute faith that God wants to bring you into a better place – unless you are believing for God to bring you into that better place, then you are like them.

Joshua and Caleb had every expectation that God would keep His promises to them about a better life. Not so for their peer leaders. They were not rooted in that kind of faith at all. When they went ahead to check out the land they would bring the rest of the people into, they saw all the enemies and obstacles present before them. They slipped into fear and unbelief and let fear paint could their mind and their words. Their words matched their fear and they began to speak "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?" (Num 14:2-3 NIV)

Joshua and Caleb tried to silence the spoken fears of their contemporaries. They told them to be quiet and then told them God wanted them to go forward into His promise. So who eventually ended up with their promises from God fulfilled? Joshua and Caleb - the ones who believed. Who didn't? The ones who feared and did not trust God.

God wants to bring you into a better place. What is a better place? You tell me. If you were once spiritually bankrupt and now you know that Jesus loves you, is that a better place? It is to me! If you were going to Hell but now you are going to Heaven is that a better place? It is to me! If you use to live like the devil and now you live for God, is that a better place? It is to me!

He has brought me into the life I feel passionate about – a life living in His ways! That's better! I use to influence people toward all the wrong things but now influence a great many for God. That's better! He has delivered me from myself and taught me how to love the most wonderful wife in the world. That's better! He has given me four beautiful children and five grandchildren that all love God. That's better! He has given me increased resources to manage my life and influence others for God. That's better! He’s given me the best church and people to serve of any congregation anywhere! That’s better! He has blessed me to be a blessing! Everything in my life is better than what it was and it just keeps on getting better. It’s supposed to.

God is a God of Covenant. As good as this covenant was with them back then, Jesus is the author of even a better covenant with us.

Hebrews 7:22 & 8:6 "...Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant... superior to theirs as the covenant of which He is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises."

I praise God for “the better place” He wants for you. Even if you are in a great place, He has a better place. The better place is not so you can just consume His goodness upon your own lust. To the contrary, it's so you are equipped for every good work to touch those around you with His love! It's so you can be a blessing.

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!

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Way God Helps You With Your Problems

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

1 Cor. 2:10 “But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by His Spirit…”

We have all seen it at some time, a person doing a magic trick. He takes the coin in his left hand. He squeezes and blows on it. He opens it and the coin is gone. He opens his other hand and there it is. That is called magic, the art of illusion. God does not do magic. We don’t hand Him our problems where He takes them in His hand, squeezes and blows on them, and they are suddenly gone. That’s illusion but God is about SOLUTION.

Too many of the problems that we experience, we've contributed to creating. Marriage problems for example, don’t just happen. We do things God tells us we shouldn't do. We don’t do things God tells us we should do. By disobeying God we create problems.

When people get in crisis situations, they often pray out of desperation, but what they are usually looking for is the magician, not God. They want God to wave His wand and make their problems go away. There are many in the world that offer illusionary solutions (for a fee) but God is not one of them. If problems are born out of our character dysfunction, God's solution is going to be to help transform us so that we don't repeat creating these problems again and again. Oh don't get me wrong. God will help us in a multitude of ways to get to a better place, but beyond that, God is all about transformation! He is interested in transforming us. He is interested in transforming how we think, how we speak, and how we behave. He is interested in transforming our attitudes and motives. He wants to help purge us from selfish ways and teach us to become a vessel of His love with a servant attitude so that we will become more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, our role model of selflessness. Every word Jesus spoke leads to transformation. That doesn't mean becoming Mother Theresa. It means learning to prefer others over yourself, and from a sincere heart.

So let me illustrate how that happens. Think of God wanting to transform you as you read this scripture. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV) says, "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."  

If you were anything like me you might have responded Blameless? Who me? I’m as close to blameless and holy as I am to Jupiter. That’s how I felt when I first read this verse. So, let me break it down. You are a three-part being. You are a spirit. You are a soul (made up of your mind and emotions,) and you are a body. When you gave your life to Jesus, He made your spirit new. It was instantly transformed. The blood of Jesus washed your sins away and God put a white robe of righteousness upon you. Isaiah 61:10 (NLT) says, “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in His wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.”

What Jesus did for you is a gift. You can’t earn it. That robe covers your flaws. God knew you’d have flaws. He knew Satan had tried to corrupt and destroy you and that fixing you would take time. He purposed to cover you with this robe so that when He looked upon you, He’d see you washed and cleansed from sin by His blood. He could do that instantly because Jesus paid the price for your sins. Romans 5:9 (NIV) says,"Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!"

You are a spirit, soul, and body and your spirit is to take lead of your life. You soul and body weren't made to lead you in life. They will take you to problem land. They are corrupted and haven’t been instantly changed. Your spirit has the capability of hearing from the Spirit of God. Your mind hasn't. What you hear from God by your spirit is what you teach your mind to think.

1 Cor. 2:6-16 (NLT) says, “Yet when I am among mature Christians, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world… No, the wisdom we speak of is the secret wisdom of God… But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by His Spirit… And God has actually given us His Spirit (not the world's spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us….But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can't understand us at all….but we can understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ."

You have many thoughts you think about every day. You talk to yourself about many things. Your conscience is engaged in that conversation. Your conscience isn't your spirit. Your conscience is a part of your soul – your mind and emotions. Before you gave your life to Jesus, your conscience was trained by the many voices of the world that speak into your life. But when you gave your life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit took residence within you, and that’s who is now supposed to teach and transform your conscience and thinking. That is what is meant by the verse Romans 12:2 (NLT) “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.”

This transformation will take time because you will have to make the personal decision to hear and obey God’s voice speaking to you through the scriptures over and over and over again. And you will have to make the decision to change. He won’t make you. So how fast you change depends on your willingness to seek and to listen to the voice of God. It won’t be magic. It will be a process. God in His mercy and grace will wash and forgive you of your sins when you blow it and repent. Listening and obeying repeatedly over time is what will cause your character transformation. Hardship and the desire to get out of our problems has a way of helping us remember what we don’t want to go through again. God doesn't want hardship for us. He wants obedience that minimizes problems and instead leads us to the blessing and joy of following Him. If God just did the magic and took the problems you created away, then you would not be transformed into Christ’s image and you’d repeat those stupid mistakes and sins over and over again. He is interested in the transformation of your spirit, soul and body! While this is happening, He’ll always be by your side to speak to you and lead you – if you will listen! He’ll listen to every prayer, and help you in every step. And you will change!

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT) "... And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image." 

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! Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

Monday, September 15, 2014

Called To Do Great and Mighty Things…But What Do I Do Today?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Did you know that God wants us to get stirred up and excited to do great things for Him? When we get stirred up, and when we have faith that God will use us in some way to be a blessing to others, then we’ll begin to pay attention to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit. When we desire to be used of God and when we pray and ask Him to use us, then the eyes of our heart will be more attentive and we will catch those moments and opportunities to be used of Him. Most times, what we do for others will go unnoticed by everyone except those whom we help, and God. The Lord always pays attention! The Lord will give you those occasional times where you will be used and it will be noticed by others. We can't live for those moments; because to do so, poisons your motives. We live for seeking to be used to help others as God leads no matter who knows or sees. Then we’ll eventually begin to take risks for doing greater things borne out of a heart motivated by God’s love.

It was this truth that lead me to inventing the commercial infant changing tables you seen in every public bathroom everywhere you go. I had thought about it for three years before I acted on it. One Sunday morning in our church service, the message being preached was about reaching more people for the Lord. Our church was already packed and if we succeeded, we would have to expand our facility to minister to them all. It would take committed hearts and resources. It was at that point that the Lord spoke to me and said I want you to execute the idea that has been stirring in you for the past three years. It will be a blessing to many and provide resources to reach more people for me.  It took five years of hard work from concept to finally watching them be installed in bathrooms all across America. I have young mothers with babies that know I did this, stopping to thank me all the time. I would have never done this had I not believed that the Lord wanted me to do it and spoke to my heart. He did and he stirred me up! This has happened to me again and again. It makes life so exciting! But it started with little acts of obedience and commitment to reach others with God's love.

Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV) says, “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know.” God doesn't show us great and mighty things for kicks, or to inflate our ego with pride about how spiritual we are. He doesn't show us things and stir us into action so that we can chase success only to enjoy the benefits and leave God behind when we attain it. He shows us things so we can ultimately influence and impact lives for His glory, one way or another. That is what we are in this earth for. To be an influence helping others to know and experience the love of Jesus in their lives.

I think most of us have been stirred up and dreamed of doing great things for God at one time or another. That’s a good thing! We are to stir up and provoke one another to do good. We read in 2 Timothy 1:6 (NKJV)  “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you...” And in Hebrews 10:24 “Think of ways to stir up and encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.” So do you think about and desire to do great and mighty things, yet find yourself thinking, “What do I do today?”

If you had any idea of the power of God that is at work within you trying to get out, you’d be bolder and take more risks. Am I serious when I say that? I am because you see it here in God's Word! Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." The power of God is mighty within you but quit looking and thinking about the great things you are going to do in terms of making headlines. That’s about you. That’s pride.

You are surrounded by need—people in desperate places looking for answers, solutions, and help. You have answers. I am not talking about your brilliance or opinions. I am talking about the promises of God found in His Word. The Bible says God’s Word—scripture—is “quick and powerful.” God’s Word carries God’s power—the power to destroy Satan’s lies, discouragements, and attacks coming against someone's life. It has power to produce faith—life-changing faith that alters someone’s thinking and life instantly! If you love the Lord, then you have His Word in your heart and it's a powerful starting place to be great! Just be there for people. Encourage them in God's Word. Pray for them right then and there. Serve people in church and in your daily life as though you were serving God. This is where a pure heart and godly character begin to be shaped within you. And when you are putting God's Word in you, you have it not only to share with others, but you have God speaking to you through His Word to lead you in every aspect of your life! Be faithful in asking God to use you to help others daily and I assure you He will begin to do great things in you!

I was talking to a man who had thrown his life down the toilet. He had been in the military and had killed people in war—accidentally killing civilians. It haunted him until finally his life had disintegrated and left him as a street drunk and druggie. I reached out to him without knowing any of this and in a short time ended up telling him how much God loved him. He didn't believe it. I told him it was true. As much as I tried to convince him, he wouldn't believe me so I pulled out a pocket Bible and showed him verses about God’s love and forgiveness. I had him read them out loud to me. Suddenly I noticed a change. God’s Word began to penetrate what had become a stony heart. With big puppy eyes he looked at me and said, Do you really believe God would forgive me? Yes I said. God promises it in His Word and read it to him again. He prayed and asked Jesus into his heart right then and there. He cried like a baby, was instantly and miraculously sober, gave me a big hug. and wanted to find a church. I helped him with this!

Taking small steps as you are led by God to reach others with His love is where greatness begins. And as I said, this is what gives place for God to shape our motives, our character, and our trust in Him to use us. Bringing the love of God to meet someone’s need is just one way “great and mighty things” get done. This wasn't in the headlines of the local newspaper but I guarantee you it was in the headlines of God’s heart! He is waiting to do great and mighty things through you!

2 Corinthians 9:2 (NIV) "For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action" 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

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Tim here:

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Why Does It Seem Like the Wicked Prosper?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Matthew 5:44-45 to: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

There is this guy named George. He lives in a house; I should say mansion—about 1,250,000 worth of real estate in a swank neighborhood. His community of homes is surrounded with a combination brick gate and wrought iron fence. He has three luxury cars, an in-ground swimming pool and more adult toys that you can imagine. He likes to mock Christians saying they are weak and use God as a crutch. He boasts about how he has worked hard for everything he's got and doesn't need God for anything, "Ha, ha, ha."  He is on his third gorgeous looking wife and treats her like he did the others; as a controlling jerk. He is of the opinion that they should consider themselves lucky to be married to him because of the provision he makes available. Things do seem to go George's way. He just seems to get richer and some guys think that for him to keep trading up on wives for another that is prettier and younger than the last is not a bad deal.

There are many difficult things to bear in life but it seems that one of the hardest for Christians is when they see arrogant and prideful people like George seem to prosper and be blessed while they themselves struggle—financially or otherwise. Jeremiah spoke about it inspired by God for all ages to read. He wrote in Jeremiah 12:1 (NIV) "You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?" 

The book of Job shares the same expression of sorrow. Job 21:7 and 13 (NIV) "Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?... They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace."

Doesn't the Word of God say that His children are the ones who should be blessed? Why does it seem like evil people prosper and why does it bother Christians so much?

We are in instructed by Jesus in Matthew 5:44-45 to: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

We are taught that the Lord lets His goodness touch the lives of those that don't know Him or reject Him. Why? Because He wants them to know that there is a God that loves them. You might not have thought about this, but there is something that happens inside of a person when some wonderful goodness touches their life.

As Christians when great goodness happens, we yearn to thank God. When God allows blessing to touch the life of the sinful or the wicked—especially when they deny the existence of God, they have a dilemma. They want to thank someone and they know deep down, that someone is God. If they say they don't believe in Him, they try to redirect those feelings but I assure you that the thanks they feel wants to go upward toward Heaven.

For those that don't deny the Lord but who just haven't thought much about Him or for those who have avoided Him, they do often lift thanks to God but then it makes them feel guilty. They feel this way because they know they aren't right with Him. The goodness or blessing they feel is God’s strategy to help them reevaluate their relationship with God hopefully leading them to seek Him. Romans 2:4 reveals this truth. “Don't you realize how patient God is being with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance."
The goodness of God touches sinners and the wicked so that they will be drawn toward repentance and consider God's love. He did the same with you and me. The Bible says in Roman 5:8 that God was sending His love to us, and while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us. In other words, He poured out His love on us when we didn't deserve it. (You might have forgotten that YOU were the wicked at that point in time.)

When God's goodness touches the Christian's life, it is called blessing. When God's goodness touches the sinner's life, it is called the ”goodness and mercy of God." It will feel like a blessing to them but it is not actually a blessing. Blessings are reserved for God's people. It is simply God's goodness and mercy. God is trying to get a hold of them, but He won’t keep trying forever.

God loves all men and is trying to reach them through the things that impact their heart. And yet, it isn't endless. It will come to an end, and if they don't turn to the Lord they will reach the end no one wants to face.

Because we as Christians know the Lord, we are rich in blessing. God is good to us and wants to bless us. We just need to remember who we are and stay focused on His will for our lives. God will take care of them. Let's not be jealous because without Him they are naked and poor while, we are rich in blessing!

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!  Tell Pastor Tim here:

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved