About Tim Burt

Saturday, February 28, 2009

About Sexual Desires…

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

Col 3:10 "... put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

Have you ever seen before and after pictures? I think God loves before and after pictures. Do you know why I think that? Because throughout His Word, He tells us to put off this and that and to put on the new man within us. He talks about being made new. He talks about being transformed by His Spirit and Word. He then reminds us not to go back to the former way we were. In a sense, He tells us to put the picture of our new selves on the refrigerator and look at! Let's take a look and see if that isn't so.

Col 3:7-10 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Eph 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

James 1:21-25 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.

God wants us to remove certain things from our life but in order to do so, we have to remember that God’s Holy Spirit - the power of God to help us - lives within us! The Holy Spirit helps us sensitize our spirit by showing us what is best for us and what is harmful for our lives according to the Word of God. We may at times feel condemned but I assure you God is not condemning you. Jesus already died for you. There may be a feeling of conviction. That is the feeling we get when we recognize God wants to help us make changes. That’s a good thing. He means we are spiritually alive. Now He wants to help you and that is what the Holy Spirit does! As we pray and ask God, He helps our inward desires change and even feel disgust for what evil is in our lives. As desires change, change comes!

In the book of Galatians, one of the works of the flesh to put off is lasciviousness. It is not a well-known word but it is a very practiced sin. I believe it is Satan's greatest tool in this earth to draw men and women from God and back into sin.

Lasciviousness is the enticing and exciting of sexual desires – the creating of lust. People that read the Word of God come to understand that fornication - sex of any kind outside of marriage - is against God's will. People that read God's Word come to understand that adultery - sexual activity of a married person outside of their marriage is against God's will. What many people don't learn about or understand is the sin of lasciviousness - the enticing of one’s sexual desires. (Of course this does not include a husband or wife exciting each other.)

For men this usually has to do with visual and mental stimulation from sexual things. Satan, who the Bible says is the god of this world, (2 Cor. 4:4) understands the power of enticing men visually and mentally and that is why the advertising industry creates sexual ads continuously. They try to entice men to lust! That’s why pornography is one of the greatest problems amongst men today. Sexual imagines literally burn an image in the mind like photographic imagines caught on paper. That's why people can go back in their mind to those sexual images over and over again. Men are stimulated by those sexual imagines and Satan uses them to pervert and degrade our thinking and draw us to ungodly behavior – with the goal of ultimately condemning us so that we will run from God out of condemnation and an overwhelming sense of guilt.

For women in general, the images are not as seducing as the romantic thoughts. That's why romance novels, soap operas, and love movies or shows are so big amongst women. Women are more geared to fantasize romantically and men are more visually stimulated.

These things are designed to lead you away from God's best. God wants us to purify our minds and thoughts and put off things that defile them. Only faith in the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and prayer to help us change will produce those godly changes we so desire. Our relationship with God and His uninterrupted blessing are too precious to let escape or trade for vile and short-term fleshly pleasure.

As today's Fresh Manna verse says,”... put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." God is turning us into a beautiful after picture. So let’s let Him do it in us. Put on that new man which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 26, 2009

White As Snow

by Renee Burt

It’s that time of year when the snow in Minnesota can really be quite dirty, messy and annoying. Aahh…but then we get a fresh snowfall of several inches, like this weekend. And it really is about one of the most beautiful sights to see the crisp, clean, white snow blanketing the trees and the ground. It covers all of the dirty mess so well, you’d never know it was even there in the first place. And it’s really that same way with our lives. There are times when our life can become messy, dirty, and even annoying…with complaining…or jealousy…or anger…or lying…or petty behavior…or any number of (let’s call them what they are) sins. But God is there to blanket us with a fresh snowfall of His grace…it’s what saved us in the first place(Ephesians 2:8), and it’s what keeps cleansing us and making our lives snow white over and over again. And the awesome part of all of this? It’s the fact that we don’t have to “hope,” like we do for a Minnesota snowfall to cover up all the mess. We can “know”...it’s a settled fact…that no matter how messy your life has become, He will make your life as white as snow…simply yours for the asking! So what are you waiting for?

Isaiah 1:18 NLT ~ Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 20, 2009

Let it Shine!

By Renee Burt

I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. and couldn’t fall back asleep. Now, I thought about getting out of bed, but it was just so dark out I couldn’t seem to force myself to get up. It was a fruitless waste of time, in the end. Because all I did for two and a half hours was lie there thinking and rethinking about a certain situation…but never arriving at a conclusion of how to best handle it…probably because I was in a semi-stupor (I think it’s called a stupor, because that’s when your thoughts are stup-id!) Finally, the sun began to rise, and I got out of bed. I was amazed at how differently that situation looked in the light of day, and it wasn’t but a few minutes, and the Lord helped me have the clarity of mind to think it through to what I believe is a good solution. And then today’s verse came to mind. I thought about how so many people are in dark situations in their lives right now. And the enemy of our soul would love nothing more than to keep us in that dark place…lethargic, feeling unable to get up…with our thoughts in a stupor, unable to see our way out. That’s when we need to crack open the Word and let it shine into our life…because it will give us direction, hope, and peace for that day…knowing that HE will show us the way, even if there seems to be no way! So get up! Arise! And let His wonderful light shine into your life today!

Isaiah 60:1 AMP ~ ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you--rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Resting In This Reality

By Renee Burt

I never liked science when I was in school. I didn’t understand its concepts, no matter how hard I tried. Now the funny part is that I got straight “A’s” in all of those classes, but it was only because I would memorize all those facts, even though they meant nothing to me. I thought about that this morning as I was watching the snow fall outside my window. Because the fact is that I don’t need to understand the scientific process of how snow is formed way up somewhere in earth’s atmosphere for me to believe it’s real. I’m not looking out my window, doubting its reality. In the same way, I don’t need to understand how God is going to heal my friend who is battling a terminal disease…and I don’t need to understand how God is going to turn around another friend’s hopeless looking financial situation…and I don’t need to understand how God is going to mend my other friend’s broken marriage. Because the reality is that I’ve seen God change the impossible, I’ve experienced His miracle-working power…and so I can look up this morning and know that somewhere in the heavens, we have a Heavenly Father who is real…and who is making a way where there seems to be no way for the people I love. So I’m sitting here this morning, not questioning but enjoying the reality that snow is real and it’s gently falling outside my window. More importantly, I’m sitting here this morning, not questioning but resting in the reality that God is real…and His blessings are gently falling on you and I today!

Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT ~ “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Part of My Story and My Thanks….

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

Mark 16:15 (NLT) And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”

I was reminded yesterday that I completed nine years of writing Fresh Manna in December. Someone recently asked me, “Pastor Tim – most everyone that does something like you gets paid, asks for donations, or has some benefit they gain from the kind of work it takes to do what you are doing. Is there a way you personally benefit from writing Fresh Manna?” The answer to that question is yes and no. Monetarily to I benefit? No. Renee and I actually pay to put out Fresh Manna. But do I benefit? More than you’ll ever know. Hearing back from readers about how Fresh Manna has helped to come to know or draw closer to God is what keeps me going.

I learned early on in my young leadership that our life’s purpose can be summed up in on word – “Influence.” I am an Associate Pastor in a very large church. I get to be with and minister to people on many different levels every day. But, I always wanted to reach more. I’ll never forget this one particular day when I had first started working in the ministry, a very insightful young man - Todd Abendroth, a person I really enjoyed got a hold of me. He was passionately telling me that the computer age was going to change everything about how we reached people for Jesus. He was computer savvy and this was before I ever had a computer –the early 80’s. IBM introduced their first home PC in 1981, so that tells you how long ago this was. Because I didn’t have a computer at that time and really knew little to nothing about them, I couldn’t even picture what he was talking about. But, as he described what he saw, he planted a seed in my heart.

A couple of years later that I got my first computer and taught myself how to use it. I worked hard at it. I spent almost two hours a night reading through manuals and learning how to work one. I worked hard to learn what I was beginning to see would be an incredible tool for reaching more and more people for Jesus. I could never shake Todd’s words about how computers would change everything and how we’d be able to reach so many more people for Jesus.

Years later I had become fairly proficient using the computer and used one in all aspects of my work. At that time I had been a marathon runner and had been training for and running a marathon every year. The running schedule was intense. I would run usually two hours a day three or four times a week and as I got closer to the marathon, three to four hours of running per day.

One day the Lord began to deal with me about using all this time on something that would benefit more people than just me. He began to speak to me about journaling. It was very early in the morning – usually dark when I’d start running. There was no one around, and I’d sing and worship the Lord out loud while I was running. I’d also spend a lot of time praying. In those wonderful quiet times, the Lord would speak to my heart. I never wanted to forget a thing He’d say but the truth is, sometimes I did.
One day the Lord spoke to me about elevating my reverence for what He spoke to my heart. He impressed me to begin journaling so that I could remember what He had spoken to me. I obeyed the Lord. As I would get home from a run, I would go straight to my home office and journal what I felt the Lord was speaking to me that morning. I became as faithful to that as I was to running. Something happened to me from this step of obedience. My passion for journaling began to grow.

I was in a prayer group at that time and when I’d go to it, I’d share some of my thoughts from my journal with my friends in the group. They loved what I had to say and asked if I would send them what I was writing by email to them. I did. They then asked if they could share it with others. I said sure. Before long, my journaling became more important to me that my running and people started asking if they could get on my “list.” I never thought in terms of a list but it was growing into exactly that. It grew and grew. At one point, I knew that what Todd had shared with me all those years back, had become manifest in my life. I was reaching people I didn’t even know as what I shared was passed to others. My list grew to a hundred, then hundreds, then a thousand, then thousands. I actually had people sending me feedback from all over the country and then from different locations around the world.

Here I am nine years later – actually into the tenth year, still writing Fresh Manna. I love sharing God’s love, His precious promises, and the good news of Jesus Christ with all those that desire to know more. It’s never been about money, but it has made me rich. I’ve become rich in the personal growth I’ve experienced as well as in strength & discipline through writing three to four times a week. I’ve become rich from the multitude of comments and graciously kind feedback I get from those whose lives have been positively affected through Fresh Manna. I’ve become rich through the touch of God’s grace to help me do this. So, the answer is, yes I greatly benefit but, it’s not about money. It’s about people.

I am thankful to my friend Todd who was used of God to plant this in my heart so many years ago. It’s amazing how God orchestrates our life when we’ll give our life over to be used of Him. Thank each of you for reading and sharing Fresh Manna with others. Thank you always for the kind feedback you send me as you feel led to. Thank you for allowing me to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Protecting Relationships is Godly Wisdom

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

Prov 24:3-6 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."

The Bible teaches us that we should not be ignorant of the devils devices. Satan has strategies. One of them is get us mad, upset, and angry at our loved ones - at those closest to us. If he succeeds, we create a valley between and lose the people that might be most naturally bonded to us and who are often there for us in times of need or crisis. Satan has always worked to divide people from each other. Eph 6:12 says it like this: “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies--the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great satanic evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.” Satan is a liar and he is the one that works toward dividing homes, family, friends, and whoever. He doesn't discriminate.

The devil knows his destiny is Hell and he is determined to take as many people there as possible. Do you think that's a fairy tale? It's not. The devil knows he is doomed. He has feared it since the moment he tried to usurp God's authority in Heaven. That's why when Jesus walked the earth; the devils and demons were petrified. Let me show you quickly in Mat 8:28-29. "When Jesus arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 'What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?'" Can you see that they mentioned an appointed time that they so greatly fear? You see Satan and his followers know there is a day coming. We see this again in Rev 12:12”... But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."

As a believer of Jesus Christ, we do not worry about the devil. We take authority over him. Using the name of Jesus, we cast him out of every situation where we see he has reared his ugly head. I am telling you all this not as a lesson in spiritual authority but to help you become aware of his strategies so that when you see them at work, instead of succumbing to them, you’ll ask the Holy Spirit to help you walk in and speak the truth in love! When we can see that the devil is trying to divide us off from people that should be endeared to our hearts, we can stop a potential fight or offense in our heart recognizing that he just wants to divide us all off from each other. If we will quit expecting people to be perfect or what we want them to be and instead appreciate them for who they are, life will be better and greater love will flow. If we look for the good in them, if we will see it and say it and edify them instead of fighting them, we will grow together in love.

Whether communicating with your spouse or your teenager, or a relative or coworker, there can be countless opportunities for even the best of communicators to lose their patience and end up in conflict. Learning how to effectively handle them is more than just technique. The Holy Spirit can help you identify and understand “your irritation buttons." When you know and are aware of them , He’ll then help you keep control if you seek the Lord at each instance and leaning on the Holy Spirit to teach and strengthen you to try to communicate in the right way. He’ll help you see things from their perspective. He’ll help you have mercy. He’ll even help you confidently speak kindly when someone is treating you like a total jerk – if you will lean on Him in those times. I know this can sound impossible but I promise you it's not. Eventually you will get better at it. In time with the Lord's help you can become great at it.

Most every kind of conflict can be resolved amicably when people learn how to speak truth kindly. Unfortunately, what most people do is avoid direct conflict because they are poor at keeping their emotions in check as they talk through it. They just walk away mad from each other. Then they build negative momentum by talking bad about the other person while justifying their position.

People have no idea how their flippant negative words spoken against the very ones they love hurt their own heart. When you do that, in your heart you devalue someone who could really be very precious to you if things were resolved in the right way. Over time, your spoken negative words cause you to lose your emotional love and caring heart. Learning how to work through conflict will help you to stop carrying around unresolved issues and help you quit speaking those negative words you’ll end up regretting.

As today's Fresh Manna says, people were meant to be rare and beautiful treasures that fill the rooms of our (life) house. We've all been tainted by the influences of Satan in this earth and consequently, we have our little (or big) quirks. We must overlook theirs and hopefully they will overlook ours. Then God by His Holy Spirit will work to restore us to paths of kindness, love, and compassion. When we learn to love people through God's eyes, we learn to love life. We'll find ourselves surrounded by "many advisers for victory." Family and close friends can be some of the very best!

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

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009
All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You've Got Favor!!

By Renee Burt

This morning I went over to a hotel where I’ve hosted a girl’s overnight for the past four years. About 100 girls from our church attend every year, and it’s one of my favorite events of the year. One of the reasons being that I so enjoy working with the staff at this particular hotel. They seem to want to go out of their way to do an over-the-top job for us. Now, in the natural, there isn’t a logical explanation for this. We’re in no way one of their big clients…once a year, 100 girls…no way does that merit the service we get. So is it just that this hotel has exceptional employees? Well, they are exceptional…but that’s not it. So is it just that I’m so nice and appreciative, and so they want to be nice back to me? Well, I do try to be as nice and appreciative as I can be…but that’s not it either. The thing that will ALWAYS cause us to experience more than what we deserve is the favor that God’s word promises us…with both Him and with other people. It’s what causes us to experience acts of kindness, help and grace that is over-the-top. I’m so glad we don’t have to depend on our limited human efforts to bring blessing into our lives…because His limitless favor is available for each one of us. So do yourself a favor…believe God’s Word and experience His favor in your life today!

Proverbs 3:4 NLT ~ Then you will find favor with both God and people,and you will earn a good reputation.

Psalm 84:11 AMP ~ For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.


More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 09, 2009

Getting Out of the Rat Race!

Fresh Manna 20009© by Pastor Tim Burt

John 4:13-14 (NLT) Jesus replied, "People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life."

I recently received feedback from a kind and thankful reader who had been reminded through what I wrote, what life is really all about. The letter started out like this…

“Dear Pastor Tim, What a soft gentle reminder that it's easy to get caught up in getting bills paid off, doing business year end taxes, raising new babies, keeping kids at college and getting another into the air force. It's enough to keep me busy 24/7 with no break in sight!!! Every day is just like the next! What is this rat race for? What really matters? I already know the answer, but your e-mail reminded me.”

How about you? Are you feeling like you are a part of the rat race? It can be easy to feel like that, and it gets worse when things aren’t good. I think most people have been touched and affected in some way by the downturn in the economy. When the economy gets tough, businesses have to downsize employees, firing or laying off some or offering early retirement or severance for others. There goal is to reduce their costs by reducing their workforce payrolls. For those that are left behind, that usually means taking on more work with the same amount of pay or possibly less pay. Those working are forced to work harder and smarter. Those that have left their job are trying to not panic while figuring out what they are going to do. The rat race is bad enough but this really magnifies it. Then there is the home front and all the demands that go with it.

Life has never been simple since Adam and Eve failed in the garden and released the curse in the earth. Genesis 3:17-19 gives us insight to that event. “To Adam God said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Just so you understand, God didn’t put like some voodoo curse on the earth. The thing that would cause life to become hard and affect everything from earth’s atmosphere, to the ground, to people’s perspectives and attitudes toward life, was sin. Adam and Eve had sinned and that sin would touch and affect everything in life in a negative way. Now all these years later, we see what sin has done to mankind and to the earth. Romans 5:12 bears out this truth saying, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” It created a rat race. It separated man from God. It stripped life of real meaning and purpose. It made people wander the earth asking, “Why am I here?” and “Is this all there is in life?”

One day Jesus will return and literally renovate the entire earth! Until then, He made a way to get out of the rat race now! It’s revealed in Romans 5:15-18 And what a difference between our sin and God's generous gift of forgiveness. For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin. But this other man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God's bountiful gift. And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins. The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God's wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam's one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness makes all people right in God's sight and gives them life.

Jesus Christ offers and gives whoever will receive Him personally as their Savior and Lord - their life back. He’ll replace the rat race with the God race. In describing to a woman that wanted to understand more how that would affect her life, Jesus compared it to being hot and thirsty. When you take a drink of water it will bring refreshing only until you get hot and thirsty again. And so you go through that again and again – much like a rat race. But, to the one that received Jesus and let their life and purpose become living for Him, that drink would be different. He said, "People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring WITHIN them, giving them eternal life." (John 4:13-14)

Life isn’t about existing in the rat race. It’s about learning to live for God. Your life is about becoming His mouth and hands in this earth and about reconciling others to Jesus. When that becomes true for you, then you’ve left the rat race and entered the God race. If that becomes your underlying purpose as you walk out your livelihood, your relationships, and your life, you will find yourself drinking from the perpetual spring that refreshes you, gives your eternal life, and turns the rat race into the God race. It will become a “perpetual spring within you and it will give you eternal life with Him.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Just For Fun: BREATHTAKING PHOTOS

Absolutely breathtaking photos from Antartica! A must see!

http://tiny.cc/g5rQa

A Key To Personal Development

Fresh Manna 20009© by Pastor Tim Burt

Heb 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”


I've been a Christian since 1977. After I had been a Christian for about two years, I discovered something very important about myself. I learned that I didn't know or understand the word commitment unless it had a paycheck attached to it. I was as faithful and committed as could be to a job. My first job was being a paperboy for three years beginning at the age of 11. I had the biggest paper route in our local area. I had to deliver papers every day of the week and I did –faithfully! That conscientious effort carried over into the workplace. I lied about my age when I was 14 years old. I told the local grocery store owner I was 16. He hired me. Two years later at age 16 (he thought I was 18) he made me assistant store manager. I fessed up at that age and told him the truth. I think he knew my real age but didn't care because I was faithful. When it came to a job with a paycheck, I was faithful. When it came to making commitments to anything else, I was fickle. I just didn't want to give away any more of my free time on a committed basis to anyone for any reason.

That carried into my early adult years. When it came to the paycheck, I was a hard worker. When it came to a commitment in anything else, I was still fickle. When I became a Christian at the age of 23, I started to enjoy coming to church. The Bible opened up a whole new world to me. I heard great preaching about serving and using my gifts for God. I wanted to but I was paranoid of giving up free time in order to make a commitment to serve.

As time went on, I started to feel convicted about the need to use whatever gifts I had within me in committed service within the local church for the Lord. The thought of committing volunteer time almost sent me into anxiety attacks. The thought of committing myself to a schedule to serve in was difficult to say the least. I learned something about myself when I finally took that first step. I learned that following through on commitment was important to me. Doing what I said I would do was important. I was amazed at myself. I was surprised that I enjoyed commitment and serving others. It wasn't a hardship and I didn't feel robbed. I felt like I had greater purpose in life and what I did was rewarding because I could see that it benefited others.

What I learned about myself over the years was this. I function well when I have made a commitment - when I have boxed myself into a commitment where the needs of others are dependent on what I do for them. Without this commitment, I seem to want to get lazy and stay in a kick-back mode which eventually works an increasingly selfish attitude within me.

I have talked to many others over the years that have also said they have learned this secret. And they’ve discovered that not only does it help them be a blessing to someone else, but that it helps to purge them of their own personal selfishness, it refines their character, and reveals and develops hidden giftings they never knew they had. They all agreed that commitment stretched them and caused them to mature into a more complete person.

Today's Fresh Manna says “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” For me, I considered it along time ago. I now make it a practice to box myself into serving others. I depend on the grace of God to help me. I pray that my example speaks louder than preaching. I pray it helps others. I know it helps me grow!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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

Thursday, February 05, 2009

No Ankle-Biting

By Renee Burt

There are a lot of natural human tendencies we all have…some good…and some that are not so good. One of them is to want to look at someone else’s life and observe what you think they should or shouldn’t be doing. It’s the old “on the outside, looking in” tendency that sees things that other person SURELY must not see they’re doing wrong (in your opinion, that is). And so you take it upon yourself to either give them your unasked for opinion…or you talk to someone else about your observations to see if they see the same “flaws” in that person that you see. Well, lo and behold, the other person not only agrees that you’re right, but then they add their own personal observations…you know, so you can both discuss what that other person should be doing! I’ve done that before…so have you, if you care to admit it. But here’s the deal. God didn’t assign any of us to decide how another person should walk out their God given path. Because frankly, it takes all of our focus, energy, and time just to walk out our own path. So be like a horse in a race that has blinders on…keep your eyes on YOUR path, don’t bite the ankles of those running in the lane next to yours…and focus on you doing your best in YOUR race!

II Timothy 2:14-15 MSG ~ Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God's people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God…

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