On the weekends, I usually pass on something that has been passed to me by a Fresh Manna reader. The following was recently sent to me. I hope it will bless you!
In His Love,
Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
Prov 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in the power of your hand to do so”
A Christmas Story
I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.
I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big
sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even
dummies know that!"
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that
day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always
told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot
easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I
knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told
her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted.
"Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for
years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's
"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second
world-famous cinnamon bun.
"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town
that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through
it's doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those
days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who
needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out
I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but
never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and
crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.
For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that
ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.
I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the
kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about
thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with
bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's
grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he
never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a
note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that
Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he had no coat. I fingered the
ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a
I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real
warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?"
the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.
"Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at
I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and
ribbons (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her
Bible) and write, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.
Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me
over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and
forever officially one of Santa's helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept
noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave
me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took
a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his
step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and
Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to
open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. Fifty years haven't dimmed
the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby
Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about
Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was
alive and well, and we were on his team.
I still have the Bible, with the tag tucked inside: $19.95.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2006 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Fresh Manna for the weekend of November 3-5, 2006© by Pastor Tim Burt
Psa 12:7 “O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”
Parents want their children to grow up obedient, well adjusted, and prepared to take on and succeed in this world. Good parents realize that this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. God’s word teaches us that without boundaries – His laws and ways, human life would end up in chaos. That is the meaning of Proverbs 29:18 that says “Where there is no understanding of the Word of the Lord, the people do whatever they want to, but happy is he who keeps God’s laws.” God’s word brings us boundaries. Boundaries are not confining but to the contrary, liberating. They are designed to point us to that which brings blessing and to steer us away from that which could lead to destruction and death.
Little Johnny and Sally’s parents tell them not to ride their scooters out into the street. Why? Because they want to take away their fun? No, because they want to protect them from harm. When children are defiant, consequences are to be executed to change their attitude and heart toward obedience. Prov 19:27 warns, “Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” Prov 19:20 exhorts, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” These are boundaries of obedience and wisdom that protect children and adults alike.
If we love our children we lay these boundaries down for them but we also model them so they can imitate us over the progression of their lives. If we don’t love them, we let them do whatever they want to. But, that leads them to become unruly and uncontrollable children that have little to no respect for anyone and that hate boundaries. They head straight toward life long destructive behaviors. That is why Prov 13:24 says love is discipline. “He who spares the rod (does not follow through with correction) hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. If we don’t follow through in keeping our children in boundaries and walking in knowledge and instruction of God’s Word, then we contribute to their destruction. Prov 13:24 says, “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.”
Believe it or not, it is not my intention to write about children and discipline today. It’s to come around to the fact that God is the perfect parent to those who will become His children. He lets us make that choice. But if we do accept to become His through Jesus Christ, then He, as a parent, has the right to discipline us. He corrects us through His Word – which means we have to draw from it. Heb 12:7-11 teaches us, “Endure correction as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
What happens to mankind when they become godless? What happens to His children when they no longer pay attention or are reverent to the things that are important to Him – those things that create boundaries within our society? Consequences do come. His children fall away from Him like a wayward child goes off into a wayward life. In a way, they separate themselves from their parents. It’s heartbreaking to any parent that sees there children experience this. It’s heartbreaking to God also. He is merciful, but like any parent, He does have limits which eventually bring consequences.
America today is teetering on the brink of God’s patience. We have come to a time that God has told us would come. It would be a time when people would call good evil and evil good. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.” The darkness of this world wants more boundaryless sexuality outside of marriage, freedom to abort unborn children without guilt, freedom to live in intoxication, and free from the confines of godly moral boundaries. They call themselves good and mock us as evil.
When evil is let loose without restraints society ends up godless and in chaos just like children without discipline and guidance lean toward destructive lives. Evil men feel emboldened like a bully on a playground when no one restrains him. Psa 12:8 says, “The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.”
This upcoming election has become ugly and distorted. Regardless, from this day forward till Jesus comes back, it will always be about those that will support abortion, homosexuality, freedom of sexual immorality and godlessness vs. those that will play a part in opposing it. It is not about jobs, economy, social security, or those kinds of issues. I say it’s not because God’s blessing goes to those that hold up His moral standards. God promises to keep us safe and protect us from the vile if we will oppose them and stand for righteousness. Psa 12:7 “O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.”
It’s not that any party of politicians is righteous or “on God’s side.” But it is clear that one party more clearly stands against abortion, homosexuality, and the vile and immoral and is a country that tries to liberates others from oppression and share the same peace we’ve been blessed with – even at a high cost.
Please be clear on this because God is a father. He does discipline nations. Nothing we’ve been blessed with in America is guaranteed. It’s been a gift from God that we need to be thankful for and hold on to. Jesus Christ and His ways have to be exalted, lest the vile strut in boldness!
Vote for moral positions as your priority above all!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt http://www.freshmanna.org/