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Friday, August 29, 2008

Working with a Smile… By Renee Burt


Fresh Manna 2008© by Pastor Tim Burt

Have you ever worked really hard at something, but no one even acknowledges how hard you worked? But then someone else puts in about half the effort you did, but because they let everyone know how hard they think they worked, they wind up getting everyone's thanks and appreciation? When I used to work in the airlines, I think that was my biggest pet peeve. I believed what the Bible says about not tooting your own horn, but it seemed like if anyone was ever going to notice my hard work, I'd have to do SOMETHING! I was tempted to work less (like my complaining coworkers) and to make sure I looked like I was worn out from all the hard work I was doing...so even if I didn't say anything, they could take one look at me, see hard rough I had it, and appreciate me. Well, that lasted all of about a day, because the Lord reminded me of today's verses. So I got right back to working hard...for Him...and when you know that He sees what you do, and you know you have HIS approval, that can't help but put a smile back on your face!

Ephesians 6:6-7 MSG ~ Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God.

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Extravagant Love!


Fresh Manna for the weekend 2008© by Pastor Tim Burt

Extravagant Love! By Renee Burt

Have you ever poured your heart into someone else...you've given them your time, your attention, your love. But then they do something that hurts you, and you pull back from them. And even if they ask for your forgiveness, it can be hard to go right back to how things used to be. In fact, people will caution you at times like that to "take it slow...make them earn your trust again...don't give so much this time...you don't want to get hurt again, do you?" That sounds reasonable in the world's way of thinking, but it's not the way God thinks. Because even though we do things that must make His heart hurt, He never pulls back from us or makes us earn His trust again before He'll love us wholeheartedly. Today's verse says that His love is downright extravagant! When I read that, it just made me love the Lord all the more. And that's how He wants us to love people...extravagantly, without caution! So I'm going to throw caution to the wind today...and enjoy loving others God's way. Hey, let's do it together!

Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG ~ Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 15, 2008

Watering Seeds of Contentment...

By Renee Burt

If you've ever done any gardening, then you know that you can plant and plant seeds until the cows come home, but they won't grow unless they're watered. And it's the same way in our life. You can plant and plant Godly seeds in your life, but they won't grow unless you water them with the Word. So two days ago, we talked about digging up the weed of discontentment and filling up that hole with the seed of contentment. Have you been watering it at all? If not, it's probably ready for a good dose of life-giving water! So here's some for you to pour on it. We oftentimes equate contentment with being satisfied with our job, or our home, or our financial situation, or our "lot in life (whatever you deem that to be). It can seem even spiritual to not want anything more than what we already have...because after all, we don't want to be greedy, right? Well, that's true if you're a chapter president of the "bless me club." But that's not what God has called us to be. He's called us to BE a blessing! So here's how that plays out in my life. I've learned to be content (satisfied fully) with where I'm at today in my job, in my home, in my financial situation...and I'm using those things NOW as fully as I know how to BE a blessing to others! So have you been waiting to get a bigger house or have better furniture before you ask people over to your home? Or are you waiting until your finances change before you can give someone a gift? (Some of the most wonderful gifts I've received have been the ones that were handmade or from the dollar store - I mean that!) Continue to believe for more in every area of your life...but be content with where you are today...and be a blessing!

Galatians 6:10 MSG ~ So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [ morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God's family with you, the believers].

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Blessing of “Companies”


Fresh Manna 2008 by Pastor Tim Burt

Galatians 5:13-14 (NLT) “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."


In the 5th chapter of Luke, we see a verse that uses the word “company.” Luke 5:29 (KJV) “And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.” This word “company” is a Greek word that paints the picture of a group of people that have something in common – something that creates a common bond amongst them. In this verse – the company and common bond was that they were all publican. “Company” is used a number of times throughout the New Testament.

We see it again in Luke 6:17 “And Jesus came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of His disciples…”

And again in Acts 6:7 “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

And again in Acts 4:23 “And being let go, they (Peter and John) went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.” In this verse, it is part of a story where Peter and John were being persecuted for healing a crippled man that was born crippled from birth and for preaching the gospel. They were threatened and persecuted but, Peter basically told them, they would not stop preaching the gospel or living for the Lord. Their persecutors – the religious leaders of the day – finally let them go back “to their own company.”

The disciples were a part of a “company” - a group of people that shared common beliefs and more. God had brought them together as He does many of us – to be a part of a company. Every local church is a company of believers that have a unique distinction and purpose to preach the gospel and fulfill the mission that God has assigned that Pastor and church company to fulfill. In that way, each church is unique in its “company” but has commonality with the rest of the body of Christ in the universal church or “company.”

I am sharing this with you to teach you that God puts us into companies of people that help us walk the plan of God for our life. The local church is a company. Your marriage is a company between you and your spouse. Your family is a company. You may have a company of friends, a Bible Study, a prayer group, or some other network of people that help encourage you to live your life for God and that you share other interests with. Companies that help you in God are something that Satan highly opposes. That is why Peter and John were being persecuted. He was trying to destroy their company.

In the book of Galatians, Paul is teaching that in Christ we have freedom. Freedom to think what we want, to make the decisions we want, and to own our views and perspectives. That freedom is a great blessing. It can also be a curse. It can empower people to be vocal, opinionated, cruel and snobbish. That freedom can be the source of division. That is what Satan wants. To use our freedom to do what we want, to become a divisive and destructive force with the hope that we’ll help blow up our various companies of friends and believers that bless our life. If we do, we’ll end up mad at God, disappointed and mad at people, and we’ll eventually isolating ourselves - staying away from everyone – become people without companies.

I am writing this today because I know that when times are tough – wars, expensive gas, job cutbacks, financial pressures, etc – it can create tension and anxiety. It becomes the time of true testing of our love walk and Christian character.

Paul wrote in Galatians 5:13-15 (NLT) “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”

It is the time where “companies” that God created and led you to, to be helped by, can be destroyed through Satan’s tactics. Its people that blow up marriages, churches, friendships, and fellowships that were meant to be a blessing. Satan uses pressure to bring out the worse in us.

The Apostle Paul said, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound…” (Philippians 4:12). That meant he knew how to live and keep his love walk constant in God in the good times and the bad. He didn’t let life, circumstances, pressures, and lack control his love walk. He passed the test. He knew the devil’s devices. He valued those God put in His live and wouldn’t let hard times turn him into a monster that torn down everything good in his life. Paul taught to prefer one another. Consider others over yourself – all for the sake of the gospel and the company that God has given to bless your life. Consider this a warning and help from the Lord to correct what the enemy of your soul has been working against in your life! Shine for the Lord and don’t let life be about stuff. Appreciate who Jesus and those whom God has given you in your life. Then you also will know how to abase and abound.

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

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

Friday, August 08, 2008

Let's Wake Up!

By Renee Burt

It seems like everyone I talk to lately is busier than usual…which shouldn’t be the case, since these are the summer months when things are supposed to slow down. I was thinking about that and wondering why that seems to the case…especially in my own life! And the answer? It’s a simple case of prioritizing and learning to say “no” to the things that might not be “bad,” but that ultimately absorb far too much of my thought life. I would love to point the finger and blame my exhaustion on having too much to do. But I need to point the finger back at myself…because God has a plan for our life, and it won’t lead to a cluttered mind and life. We do the cluttering by taking on things God never asked us to do…by squandering our time doing things that are complete time-wasters…by not being alert to what He wants us to do daily. Today’s verse was a wake-up call to me…did it wake you up too?

Romans 13:11-12 MSG ~ Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God…Be up and awake to what God is doing!

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna


Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/