Monday, February 25, 2008
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.