About Tim Burt

Monday, February 25, 2008

Part 5: Establishing A Strong Walk With God

Fresh Manna 2008 by Pastor Tim Burt

Psalms 62:8, “Trust in the Lord at all times; you people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”

Any normal loving parent desires to see their child develop and mature physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This is a good desire and one which good parents will do all they can to help facilitate. Providing a good home where there are boundaries, instruction, and nurturing in these areas helps children grow up and mature. Every parent would want this but as we all know, it can seem quite illusive.

As we look around we see that our world is so hurt and broken, and that parents may want this balanced and blessed atmosphere for their children but are hugely struggling - facing their own difficult circumstances. Many parents feel like they are in the survival mode and are trying to hang on for themselves much less help their children.

This is just one more critical reason why Jesus’ plan for the church is so critical to the body of Christ. Psalms 62:8 that says, “Trust in the Lord at all times; you people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Selah means to pause and think or meditate about this. What are we to meditate on? God tells us “Selah” on “trusting Him.” He wants us to pour our hearts, our cares, and our concerns to Him. Not just making Him a dumping ground of spewed whining, but a place were we come to the one whom we trust loves us, cares for us, and will actually help us! That’s what most people DON’T actually believe! That is why God wants us to pause and meditate on it. He wants us to have non-doubting faith that He will help us. That is why He started out saying “TRUST IN THE LORD…” He closes this verse by saying He is a refuge to us.

When God created the church, a place of “refuge” was what He had in mind. The church was supposed to be a place where the scriptures were taught with life and authority. Where they brought hope and faith when the ungodly distractions and entanglements of life were trying to drag us down and discourage us. Satan wants us so discouraged that we’ll actually be the hamster running on the mental turn wheel of discouragement – getting so discouraged we will even consider taking our own life. Multitudes of people do every day! He wants to kill us with calamity or discouragement. That’s not a mystery. Jesus revealed it to us in John 10:10 “The thief (Satan) comes for the purpose of stealing, killing, and destroying, but I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

God gave us His Word – the Bible - to speak love and encouragement into our hearts. He also gave us the church where what He called His gifts - the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher - were given to His people. Within the local church, they would teach and help mature the saints so we’d know how to function as the church. Ephes. 4:12-13 “Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, becoming literal containers of Christ’s love and power.”

They were to speak God’s Word with power and authority as Jesus did encouraging us and lifting us out of the daily circumstances that tried to grip us like quicksand and drag us down with despair and discouragement. Instead we’d be taught, reminded, and encouraged in our hearts and lifted right back into a place of faith. As all God’s saints grew and matured, each of us would be able to encourage and pray for each other with great faith! Church was designed by God to be a place of refuge. You were designed to be a part of that refuge!

If you look at the early days of the church you can see this place of refuge called the church and the power of His encouragement being formed and spilled from one to another by God’s Spirit. Acts 2:41-47 (NLT) “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church—about three thousand in all. They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved."

This isn’t indicating they started a commune. It means they got rid of things they didn’t need in order to be a blessing to those that had need. They prayed and saw miraculous answer to prayers. They were hospitable toward each other. They truly did walk in the revelation that it is more blessed to give than receive.

Jesus had already taught them that when they were gathered together, He would be in their midst. The local church was a part of their refuge (a supernatural refuge) in an ungodly and persecuted world. The world doesn’t offer this. The world doesn’t know what love is. It’s the power of God that changes lives and circumstances.

If you can’t get to church, praise God for the technology of the day. It’s a precious grace to those that aren’t able to. For those that can, when you find a church that has people that are hungry to worship and know God and a Pastor that knows the Word – get committed and pray and serve. You aren’t perfect, and the church isn’t perfect, but it can be a refuge for you if you will purpose to be a refuge for those that come.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Are You Judgmental?

Fresh Manna 2008© by Pastor Tim Burt

Luke 6:37 ”Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

You are not unique if you find that you accidentally judge people even though your heart tells you that you shouldn't. Before we give our lives to Christ, we are what the Bible calls, "carnally minded." That means that we don't think like God. We think like people in the world who don’t have God’s Holy Spirit to help them. The world doesn't know God's way of thinking. Even when we give our life to Jesus and become born-again, our mind doesn't just instantly think like God. The Bible says our mind has to be changed or transformed. Romans 12:2 says it like this. “Don't copy the thinking, the behavior, and the customs of this world, but instead, 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.”

The changing or renewing of our mind to think like God thinks is a process. The Holy Spirit teaches us how God thinks as we meditate on the Word of God. As we begin to see how God thinks, it corrects our thinking leading then to change in thought and behavior – a little at a time. For most people this is a long process over many years. Since it doesn’t happen over night, that means we will have some of our old corrupted thinking and ways of doing things within us that are still waiting to be changed.

A part of corrupted thinking that needs to be dealt with is being judgmental of people. Sometimes we will look at someone or at something that is going on in someone's life and based on little or no information, we make a judgment call about what we think they are like or what their life is like. We judge their choices as stupid without knowing the reasoning behind why they made them. If they are having negative circumstances going on in their life, we may look at them and make a judgment about why we think those things are happening.

I recently had a person tell me that he is good at looking at people he has never met before and knowing what they are like. This person said to me, "Sometimes I can just look at people and I know if they are honest or not." The truth is - that's not true. 1 Corinthians 2:11 tells us that no man knows what is in the heart of another man. Only God does! There are a small number of personality profilers in the world who know things about people based on previous behaviors and background family information, but even they do not know what is in a person’s heart. When we think we know just what a person is like that we don't even know, we are being judgmental. Jesus warned us not to be judgmental because if we did, we would also be judged by other people.

In Luke 13:1-3, we see Jesus teaching his disciples not to be judgmental. I believe He was teaching them this because He knew what was in their hearts and thoughts - judgmental thoughts! The verses say this: "Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

The disciples that had heard about Pilate murdering and mixing the blood of people with sacrifices might have been wondering why it wasn't them that were killed. They were probably thankful it wasn't them. Then they made the common mistake that so many of us make when we try to figure out why bad things happen to others. They thought, "I wonder why this happened to them?" They began to think, “they must have done something bad or horrible that God allowed this to happen to them." That's judgmental and wrong thinking. Jesus told them it was. He said that kind of thinking should cause them to repent. He then helped them see that if those kinds of things happen because of sin or evil that someone does, they would all be dead!

We have all sinned. If we are going to be punished for it then you and I might as well concede and go to the front of the line. No, that's not the way it is! Jesus washed yours and my sins away. Judgment is withheld because our sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus. He has forgiven our sins. Then why do bad things still happen? Because Satan, the god of this world is in this earth and he hates us. He attacks. Jesus was trying to help them see this truth.

When you hold someone in judgment, you erode any compassion or desire that might otherwise compel you to help that person. God wants us not to hold people in judgment, but to keep our hearts open and ready to help them if the opportunity arises. If they are being attacked by Satan, how much more do they need our help? Being judgmental causes you to want to write people off. God wants you to be open to help them prayerfully or other! Besides that, if you don't judge them and you sow compassion to them, it's what you will one day receive back in your life!

Drive out judgmental thinking and renew your mind with God’s compassion. Be blessed knowing that when people are going through hard times, you can be and agent of His love and touch to help them. While everyone else is judging them, you may be the one who turns them around!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Don't React - Appropriately Respond!

1 Cor 9:25 "And every man that strives to succeed is temperate in all things"

I was into the Doctor's office not too long ago getting a routine check-up. The nurse was checking my reflexes. You've probably had that done. They hit you around the knee with that little hammer and your leg jerks. She hit me with the hammer and my leg jumped. That's what a reflex will do. It will respond without any thought from me. Do you ever react to things? A reaction is very much the same as a reflex. Something happens and you react without thinking. I was near a pool some time back and I saw a mother quickly jump into a pool with her clothes on. Her toddler had gone under. That was a good reaction. She pulled her child up immediately and the child was fine. Sometimes reactions are good. Sometimes they aren't.

There are times we react to situations rather than respond to them. We react too quickly without thinking and do or say the wrong thing. That was an area that I needed to learn to get under control quickly when my children were young. If they were disobedient after I had given them warnings, the temptation to react in anger instead of responding appropriately was my temptation. At that point in my life I had not matured in the management of my emotions that could have opened the door for trouble. Of course I never wanted to deal with my children in anger. That's where shaking, inappropriate yelling or screaming, or wrongful spanking out of anger can happen – much to later felt regret. To avoid these kinds of displays of intemperance, Renee and I together developed a strategies for times like this.

We wanted to teach our children the rewards for obedience and the consequences for disobedience. We did now want our children to be like so many children we see today -children out of control. If I have a pet peeve in my life today, its parents that don't parent their children and let them slowly spiral out of control. Too often I sit in a restaurant with Renee or someone for fellowship and have the time destroyed by children screaming or running around the restaurant. The parents often are oblivious to this or think, "Aren’t they cute." Yes your kids are cute to you but they aren't in public places when they are screaming and running around. If we couldn't get our children under control in a restaurant we left. We did not feel it was right to ruin others people's time and expense at our children's cost.

Anyway, we worked toward developing strategies for disciplining our children so we would respond instead of reacting to wrong behavior. Time outs in a chair in the corner of the room worked in some situations but not always. They would sometimes get the end of a wooden spoon when they willfully and purposely disobeyed. We would always make clear what we wanted. We would then give them an additional clear warning so there was no misunderstanding. If they continued to defy us, they would get the spoon. We had it in a place in the kitchen where they could reach it. When it was time for a spanking, they had to go get it and meet me in the bedroom. That gave them time to think about what was to come while we cooled down so that we could respond appropriately. When they came in with the spoon, (and they did because they knew it was doubled if they didn't,) we would talk over the incident.

"Peter, do you know why you are in here?" "Yes dad." "Why are you in here?" "Because I hit Stephanie." "Did I warn you if you did that you would get a spanking?" "Yes but it was her fault..." "I realize that but did I warn you if you hit her you were going to get a spanking?" "Yes dad." "Did you hit her anyway?" "Yes dad." "Do you want me to be a good dad or a bad dad?" "A good dad." " The Bible says a good dad, helps their children love Jesus and grow up to behave. That means if I want to be a good dad, I have to discipline you when you don't obey." At that point, I put them over my knee and gave them a spanking that hurt but did not leave any bruise or break the skin. It was enough to cause them to remember and regret but not be inappropriate in any way. When that was finished and they were crying, I'd hold them. They would have to pray and ask God for forgiveness and then to ask me for forgiveness. I'd forgive them and tell them it was over and would not be brought up again. That was how God was with us. Heb 8:12 says, ”For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." I didn't either. I would never bring up a past offense again. We hugged and kissed and moved on with our day.

Having clear strategies helped us respond, not react leading to actions we’d regret! (Super Nanny is a show every parent should be forced to watch to learn strategies for success!) By the time our kids were five we hardly ever had to discipline them. They had learned warnings and consequence from an early age.

My wife Renee is an awesome balance and helper to me in helping me to think through responding and not reacting to situations.

Psa 37:7 says, "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret... refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil.” It's so important to keep from 'fretting.' The dictionary defines fretting as becoming vexed or troubled; worry. To be worn or eaten away; become corroded. Fretting is worrying which leads to overreaction in emotions which leads to inappropriate or evil behavior. We don't want to become worn or eaten away. It's critical that we look to the Lord and draw patience from Him on purpose. As today's Fresh Manna says, striving for temperance is a huge key to success. Refuse to fret. Don't let fret creep into your temperament. Instead seeks Gods help and trust Him for it. Develop strategies that protect you from reacting. Stay in control of the management of your emotions. It will help produce godly responses and a well-managed temperament that will support much success.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Healing is God's Will

Fresh Manna 2008© by Pastor Tim Burt

Psalm 118:17 “I will not die, but I will live to tell what the Lord has done”

I was recently speaking to a gentleman facing the kind of challenge that would cause most people to crumble. He was told that he has a rare disease that will take his life. That’s what the doctors said. That’s what experience and science tells them. That’s not what he chooses to believe. He is not ignoring the doctor’s counsel, advice, or medical treatments. He simply believes that God is the final say in any matter and He knows what God’s will is – “to live and not die and declare the works of the Lord.” (Psalm 118:17)

Is he right about that? Absolutely! How can we know that? There is only one way to know that. It would be to know the will of God. Can we know the will of God? The world can’t but as Christians, if we don’t, the devil will use our ignorance against us to kill us. God speaking through the prophet Hosea says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6) One of the things the military trains our soldiers is to know who their enemy is. You cannot defeat an enemy that you cannot identify.

Jesus, in teaching how the word of God works in our hearts, said that it’s the devil - the enemy that works to put thoughts and ideas that are contrary to God’s Word in our heart. That is how he undermines our faith and God’s will. It is how he works to create doubt, fear, and confusion – all designed to undermine our faith. We read Jesus’ words in Matthew 13:39 “The enemy that sowed them is the devil…” The Word exposes the devil and his purpose – to devour God’s children. God tells us to be on guard against him. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.”
So is sickness and disease God’s will? I hope you can clearly see that it’s not. Look at what Jesus says about Himself and His will, and then what He says about the devil and his will? John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jesus makes clear – His will vs. Satan.

Did Jesus demonstrate the will of God? Of course! Philip – one of Jesus disciples said to Jesus, “Show us the Father” meaning show us God’s will. Jesus and His Father were on the same page. They are one in Spirit. Jesus said, “if you want to know God’s will look to what I am doing.” He responded to Philip. John 14:9 “Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Jesus said He did only the will of the Father. John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing… I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” Well then we must ask ourselves what did Jesus do that was the Father’s will concerning the devil and healing? Acts 10:38 says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing ALL who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Isaiah the prophet foretold and described Jesus, His will, and His actions hundreds of years before Jesus came. He said, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Was Isaiah talking about spiritual healing or physical healing? Isaiah was foretelling God’s will for physically healing as Jesus would take our sins and punishment to pay the price for us to receive it. We see Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Jesus and healing fulfilled in Mathew chapter 8. We see Jesus heal lepers, then the Centurion’s servant, then the Apostle Peter’s mother-in-law. When He healed her it quotes the fulfillment of Isaiah and it is talking about physical healing. We read in Matthew 8:14-17 “When Jesus came into Peter's house, He saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." This verse finished in Isaiah continues saying, “and by His wounds we are healed.”

I wrote this today to help you understand what God’s will is, what the devil’s will is, and so that you could take the promises of God to do battle with the enemy of your soul. Sickness - big or little is from the devil. The devil won’t be in Heaven nor will there be any sickness and disease there. Rev. 21:3-5 paints us that picture. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. "He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

I know sickness comes and is all around us. Myself and my family have had to withstand our share of attacks – some of which I have written about. I appreciate doctors. I have no problem going to one. They are the grace of God to help us. But God alone is our healer. I lean on Him. I trust in His Word. And I do what my friend is doing in his fight for his life – I submit myself to God’s will and resist the devil and his lies and efforts to come against me, my family, my loved one, and all of you! As James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Covering - Part Seven

Prov 17:9 “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends”

In protecting relationships that we really value, it is imperative that you not only NOT keep a record of wrongs, but that you to the contrary, that you learn from Jesus how to cover them in edifying words and prayer. This starts with our spouses and children and goes on to all relationships. The key is in Eph 5:25-28. Jesus set the example for us. It's powerful if we pay attention and learn. It says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."

Okay, here’s what we need to ask ourselves; how did Jesus love the church? We read that He made us - the church, holy, by the washing with water through the word. What does that mean? It means this. Jesus lived and died without sin. He died being punished as a sinner, yet He was not guilty - He had never sinned. We were guilty of sin, not Him. The punishment we deserved for our guilt, He took upon Himself as an act of love. His taking our punishment is what absolves us from our sin when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. God’s Word - the Bible, tells us this. Therefore, it's His Word or words that wash and cleanse us. Therefore words have the power to cleanse and set free!

Believers are declared by God has righteous holy because of their faith that He said so, but think about it. Are you really righteous? Are your thoughts and actions really holy? No way! You and I have a fault list. But, that isn't how Jesus views us. No, His love, death, and resurrection took care of our fault list. So how does He see you and I? As radiant, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. That is how He chooses to see you! You may be a work in progress and feel overwhelmed by how much change is needed in you. But God put a robe of righteousness upon you to cover all that up. He wanted to cover anything that wasn’t beautiful with something beautiful to make you radiant and without stain. Think about that!

Then Jesus says, Husbands, love your wives (or anyone you are in a godly relationship with) this way. Don't keep a record of wrongs. Even though you see the faults in someone, remember that Jesus decided out of His love to look past them for you. He even died for you to make that happen. Rom 5:8-9 says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!" So then, that is what we are to do for others. Look beyond their faults and look to what they can and will become as we cover them in prayer and believe. This is how God released us from His wrath and from what we deserve for our wrong doing. Can we forgive others while they are still sinners – while they still offend us – while they appear less than perfect? Can we cover them up with love like Jesus did us before His Father?

Lastly and most important to know and understand. When someone bugs us, we desire their behavior to change. When we get mad and yell, or in some way express our discontent for their behavior, demanding they change but expressing it in an unedifying way – at that point, what is actually happening? While we are venting, they are putting up walls. They recoil believing your mission is faultfinding, unconvinced you love or care for them. You lose your chance to positively influence them. So, the very behavior you want to change, you won't. You alienate them and only make it worse.

Covering them is forgiving them and instead praying and encouraging them in a positive fashion having confidence God is working through you and your prayers and having faith that the Lord will work in their life – over time – JUST LIKE HE DOES WITH YOU – OVER TIME! Someone is praying for you right? The Holy Spirit is working in you isn’t He? Then pray and have faith that the Lord is doing the same in them. If you handle it this way, then you can have confident faith that no matter what the circumstances, God will prevail in their life over time.

It was my future sister-in-law that first shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with me. She was bold and confident that God would answer her prayers. Although to me my life seemed very sinful, she never came at me that way. I'll never forget her words. Sharon said, "Tim, you might as well give up and give your life over to Jesus. I'm going to be praying for you anyway and the Lord always answers my prayers. He's going to win you over. You might as well give your life to Him right now!" I really did believe that God answered all her prayers. She radiated that expectation. I thought, "There is no sense in fighting God, I might as well." I prayed and asked Jesus in my heart. It was her loving approach that kept my walls down and kept me interested. It was her confidence and strong faith in God answering her prayers that nailed me. It her continuous loving approached that kept me – a defensive person at that time – in a non-defensive posture. Love is a powerful force.

When your heart and approach is this way, others will stay open to what you say. As today's Fresh Manna says, you will be one who covers over an offense and promotes love. God will show you ways to influence through love and you will be a powerful covering that helps God's plan be fulfilled in their life! Praise God

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.