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Friday, April 25, 2008

Forget Yourself! By Renee Burt


Philippians 2:3-4 MSG ~ Don't push your way to the front, don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand!

There a lot of things we all forget on occasion - an appointment, or sending someone a birthday card, or paying a bill on time. But one thing, we rarely forget is to take care of what's really important to us, personally. Think about it...in your day do you ever forget to eat, or to sleep, or to do what you really want to do? Sorry if this disappoints you, but those are some things I don't forget! In fact, most times, the reason I forget some of the things I've forgotten is because I have my mind far too much on myself. Today's verse encourages me to do the exact opposite - to stop thinking about myself so much, and instead to think about what I can for others that day. I've found that when I do that - when I take care of the needs of others - God MORE than meets my needs. In fact, He does a far better job of it than I ever have. So go ahead and "forget yourself"...and rest assured, God won't forget you and you'll wind up having a day where not only your needs are met, but God will work through YOU to meet the needs of others! Now that's what I call a good day...or should I say a "God day!"

Philippians 2:3-4 MSG ~ Don't push your way to the front, don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand!

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Keep God’s Protection and Power


Fresh Manna by Pastor Tim Burt

John 5:14 “But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you."


I, like you I’m sure, love reading about the miracles of Jesus. I do for many reasons. Since Jesus said, “I do nothing but what the Father tells me,” His miracles reveal the heart of God and Jesus, the nature of God and Jesus, the character of God and Jesus, and the grace, mercy, and compassion of God and Jesus. Oh and then there is the power of God and His willingness to be intimately involved in redeeming individual lives. As a matter of fact, this is the will of God overall - to redeem lives from Satan and sin and to bring restoration and blessing to every part of our life. THAT IS HIS WILL!

When I read the miracles of Jesus, something always happens in my heart. I am encouraged and lifted up. That is by divine design. God’s intentions through the scriptures is to reveal Himself and lift us to a place of faith – faith in the very thing we read in Hebrews 13:8 – that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

That means He still feels the same in His love and desire to bless anyone who will believe as He did then. Do you believe that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever?” If you do, then when you read of His miracles, they will lift your heart and you will feel the increase of your faith. Of course, anyone could and many do reduce scriptures into nothing more than religious stories and reading of Biblical history. For those that do, they’ll miss the intimate working of the Holy Spirit reaching out to them.

This morning I want to focus on something extremely important as we read of these miracles that allow God’s power to work within our lives.

John 5:1-15 “Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?" "I can't, sir," the sick man said, "for I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me." Jesus told him, "Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!" Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking! … afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." Then the man went to find the Jewish leaders and told them it was Jesus who had healed him."

In these verses you read of a great miracle of healing. After the healing, Jesus comes back to speak with this man to tell him something important. He says, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." Was this a threat from Jesus? Of course not! That was not Jesus’ nature. What He was saying was that God’s grace had touched his life, but that he should live for God and not open the door to the devil through sin anymore.

That is a message for all of us. We all blow it in our lives. We can’t use that as a cliché and excuse to casually sin knowing of God’s grace. He desires for us to live diligently and purposely by His Word walking in love with one another and following after His Spirit. When we do blow it, God instructs us what to do. He teaches us to go to Him and get it right. 1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”

This is not our permission slip to sin casually and then know we have a way out. It’s provision for when we blow it. When we become causal with sin and we really don’t care that much about when we do, then what Jesus spoke to the healed man are words that should speak to us. "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." Again, this is not a threat from Jesus. It’s a warning that there is a devil that will take advantage of you and whose design and nature is to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) That was what Jesus was warning of.

Later in John Chapter five, we see Jesus speaking to the “religious” people of the day – those that doubted Him and refused to believe what He said. Jesus spoke to them and said, "You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life.” John 5:39-40

Jesus was telling them that reading and studying scripture or going through religious motions didn’t make them right with God. Believing in Jesus and learning of His love, mercy and compassion and giving it to others is what made their hearts alive. Then Jesus said to them. “I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.” (John 5:42)

Religious activity does not make us right with God. Believing in Jesus, knowing it is His will to touch and miraculously work in our lives, turning from sin, and then understanding that we can’t ignore God’s Word to carry God’s love in our hearts toward others is critical. You can’t ignore sin and keep sinning. You can’t carry unforgiveness and pretend everything is okay. You have to work these things out with God’s help and then you will keep God’s protection over you and His power working in your life!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

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

Monday, April 14, 2008

Set Your Faith and Trust Like Flint!


Fresh Manna 2008 by Pastor Tim Burt

Isa 50:7 “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame”


Do you know the old expression "Is your cup half empty or half full?" Well tell me this - How do you view your life for the most part? Are you waiting for your ship to pull in before you become excited about what God has done in your life or have you noticed and are you thankful for what God has blessed you with now?

In the 2nd chapter of Malachi, we read about those who could only see from the "half empty" perspective. They were God's people but their heart, their attitude, and their personal lives before God were not right. Consequently, how they viewed and understood God and the way He treated them was contemplated from a distorted perspective. When you aren't living right before God and yet you still expect His blessings, your perspective is off somewhere. If you read the book of Malachi, you would see that God’s people were doing their own thing, yet wanting God to bless them outside of obedience to His Word. Thus they developed a lousy and skewed perspective and attitude. They whined that God blessed evil doers while not blessing them. Mal 2:17 says, “You have wearied the LORD with your words.” How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and He is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?"

In modern day language, it might sound like this. "God always seems to bless them but we never get blessed." "This blessing stuff doesn't work. My brother Frank has enough money for the entire family and yet he lives like the devil." "I don't get it. I give God some money once in a while and my car breaks down and I don't have enough for the bills. That's it! I've had it. If this is how God is going to deal with me, I'm going to keep my money and live like the devil, maybe I'll come out ahead."

If you notice at the start of this verse, it says, "You have wearied the Lord with your words." We know that the Bible teaches, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." If someone was speaking words that wearied God, then we know that this was what was in their heart and perspective.

In today's Fresh Manna verse, we see the "half full" perspective. We see someone who knows the Lord, who knows the Lord is their helper, and so consequently sets their face like flint. They know that God is there for them and that settles it. They are not going to be moved no matter what the negative circumstances seem to say. This is a heart attitude that emulates faith - that pleases God - that opens the door and creates the atmosphere for God to move mightily in. In Matthew, we read about the woman with the issue of blood who had been sick for 12 years. She had finally set her face like flint toward God. She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed." This pleased the Lord because her words rightly reflected the heart and will of God. Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment. Mat 9:21-22

When we aren't mindful of what God’s will is and have faith in it, we will become weary, then disappointed, and soon feel dead in side. This is the point when people pull back from God and quit meditating on His Word and quit praying. It is just a short time later that whining and complaining begin to spill out our mouth. From there our perception of God's goodness deteriorates and becomes distorted. Just around the corner is Satan ready to convince us that having faith in God is a waste of time.

When we take the time to be ever mindful of the many blessings that God has bestowed and desires to bestow upon us then our eyes will be open to see more of what He is doing in our life. We are to be steadfast in faith - like flint - toward God’s promises. Flint is a variety of quartz that, due to its extreme hardness, is easily shaped by flaking. Known and used since very ancient times, flint was used by the Israelites for knives, ax heads, arrow heads, spear heads and starting fires. God wants us to be immovable by circumstances instead standing hard core like flint in His promises. He wants our words to be; “Father, I thank you that this is your promise for me and I’ll not be moved until I see it manifest in my life. I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” When we draw close to Him with that kind of tenacity, God will help us see the cup half-filled while He is filling it the rest of the way. Our face will be set like flint and our faith ignited.

Be blessed as you praise God for the abundance of goodness that He has touched your life with today! Speak your thanks out loud to Him. Watch it change you and your circumstances. Psa 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

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